Syrian rebels capture over 40 people from Hama, Idlib provinces for collusion with govt forces

Syrian rebels captured over 40 people over suspicion of colluding with the government forces

Agence France-Presse August 06, 2018 09:50:51 IST
Syrian rebels capture over 40 people from Hama, Idlib provinces for collusion with govt forces

Idlib: Syrian rebel forces arrested at least 45 people on Monday in northwestern Syria over suspected collusion with Bashar al-Assad's regime, rebels said.

The National Liberation Front (NLF) carried out the wave of arrests in Hama and Idlib provinces, the latter of which the last governorate in the country to fall almost entirely outside the regime's control.

Syrian rebels capture over 40 people from Hama Idlib provinces for collusion with govt forces

Representational image. AP

"The National Liberation Front launched a campaign a week ago that peaked today with the arrest of 45 reconciliation activists and candidates for municipal elections announced by regime" in the region, Adham Radun told AFP on Monday.

In total, the NLF has arrested 60 people in the ongoing campaign, he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "nearly 50" people had been arrested in areas straddling Hama and Idlib over "attempts to reconcile with regime forces" and to take part in "meetings with its intelligence services".

After a string of victories in country's south, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on 26 July that Idlib was the government's next priority.

Some 60 percent of the northwestern province is controlled by the jihadist alliance of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, but other major Islamist rebel groups also maintain a presence. Those groups include Ahrar al-Sham and Nureddine al-Zinki, who merged in February with Turkish backing as the Syrian Liberation Front.

On 1 August, the Syrian Liberation Front merged with four other rebel groups to form the NLF.

According to Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman, Idlib has since "seen an upsurge in security chaos and mutual assassinations between rebel groups".

The war in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people since it began in 2011 with a brutal government crackdown on protesters.

It has grown in complexity over the past seven years, drawing in world powers and jihadists.

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