On March 30, two militants of the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham Movement were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The incident took place in the town of Darat Izza in the western Aleppo countryside. Like most areas in Greater Idlib, the town is controlled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Opposition activists identified the slain militants as Abu Kassem Nour and Abu Samer Harasta. Both were natives of Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta.
The Ahrar al-Sham Movement is a member of the National Front for Liberation (NFL), which has engaged in a series of conflicts with HTS over the last few years.
Last week, HTS itself lost three of its militants in similar attacks in Greater Idlib. On March 25, two militants of the group were assassinated near the town of Termanin in the northeastern countryside of Idlib. A day later, the third militant was shot and killed near the town of Kah in the northern Idlib countryside.
HTS and the NFL may be exchanging assassinations. Another possibility is that both groups are being targeted by a third party, like ISIS or the Syrian intelligence.
In any case, the recent attacks highlight the current state of lawlessness privileging over Greater Idlib. Turkey, which maintains a large force in the region, is yet to take action to stabilize the region.