Heavy infighting has erupted between two major Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province, with the clashes spreading to a border crossing with Turkey.
The battles between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Ahrar al-Sham, a coalition of Takfiri Salafists supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, erupted earlier this week, director of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP on Friday.
So far, 15 civilians, including four children and a media activist, and 50 terrorists have been killed during the conflict.
Overnight, fierce battles spread to several parts of the province, including the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, previously controlled by Ahrar al-Sham.
“The fighting is now inside the crossing. It has become a battlefield, with part of it under Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s control, and part under Ahrar al-Sham’s control,” Abdel Rahman said.
AFP also reported heavy battles on the outskirts of the town of Binnish and HTS attempts to break into the village of Ram Hamdan.
The two Takfiri groups were once the key parts of Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) umbrella group for Takfiri terrorists that captured most of Idlib Province from the Syrian government in 2015.
The battles have turned parts of the province into virtual ghost towns as residents stay at home to protect themselves from the fighting.
Meanwhile, civilians have held sporadic protests against the HTS in several parts of the province, including in the town of Sarmada where the Takfiri terrorists opened fire on the demonstrators on Wednesday and Thursday.
Idlib has become the base for thousands of terrorists who fled Syria's largest city of Aleppo after facing a rout against government forces in December in their worst defeat since March 2011.
Rival terrorist groups are now competing for clout in the territories they control after seeing their campaign to topple the Syrian government broadly in tatters.
Due to the barbarity of their actions, al-Nusra and Daesh are not subject to an all-Syria truce deal clinched late last year with the mediation of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The infighting among terrorist groups comes as international efforts to bring more Syrian areas under the ceasefire gain track and more militant groups desist from their campaign to topple the Syrian government.
Over the past year, the opposition has suffered military defeats at the hands of Syrian forces and neither US President Donald Trump nor French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for Assad's immediate ouster.