BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 P.M.) – Jihadist forces of the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) have driven Turkey-backed Islamists of Ahrar al-Sham from their positions in northern Hama.
According to sources, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham militants approached Ahrar al-Sham fighters at their positions opposite government lines to north of the town of Atshan and offered them a simple non-negotiable proposition: join our ranks or flee and leave your weapons behind.
In the event, it has become apparent that the Ahrar al-Sham fighters chose the latter option, abandoning their positions and weapons to Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham.
This development comes amid considerable internal strife within its own ranks whereby many of its originally loyal sub-groups and some of its leaders have defected from the terrorist entity.
Some sources are convinced that Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham will attempt another offensive against Syrian Army forces in the region in order to regain the loyalty of defected groups and individuals and to try unify other currently non-aligned rebel militias under its command.