Syria rebels arrest dozens over collusion with regime

Syria rebels arrest dozens over collusion with regime
2 min read
05 August, 2018
Syrian rebels arrested 55 people in Hama and Idlib province over suspected collaboration with the regime.
Bashar al-Assad said Idlib was the regime's next priority (Getty)
Syrian rebel forces arrested at least 45 people Sunday in northwestern Syria over suspected collusion with Bashar al-Assad's regime, rebels said.

The National Liberation Front 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.

"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 Sunday.

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 July 26 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 August 1, the Syrian Liberation Front merged with four other rebel groups to form the National Liberation Front.

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