Militants of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), previously known as al-Nusra Front, stormed and took control of Idlib’s central prison after clashing with prison officers aligned with the Syrian opposition groups of Ahrar al-Sham and Suqour al-Sham.
JFS has engaged in fighting with a number of Syrian opposition forces which has intensified since the end of peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana. Soldiers of the JFS targeted FSA headquarters in Aleppo and Idlib. This had led to a number of smaller rebel groups expressing allegiance to Ahrar al-Sham, one of the largest rebel groups in Syria, in order to reduce their vulnerability vis-à-vis the JFS.
“It’s time for al-Nusra Front to be stopped and the so-called ‘al-Jolani’ [leader of JFS] must stop the series of crimes he committed years ago against the Revolution…” said Ousama Abu Zayd, a legal consultant for the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
In northern Idlib, JFS militants reportedly opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least one person. Crowds were demonstrating against the JFS and ongoing infighting among opposition groups.
JFS was excluded from the Astana talks due to its status as a ‘terrorist organisation’ held by the international community.
Meanwhile in the north of Syria, JFS as been accused of smuggling weapons to ISIS-held areas of the country.