Five Syrian jihadi factions combine to form 'Tahrir al-Sham' organisation

Rebel infighting in Syria continues as one side of the the government opposition has united to form the Tahrir al-Sham organisation.

The formation of this new group, which consists of Jabhet Fateh al-Sham (JFS), comes in response to a number of smaller opposition groups joining the forces of Ahrar al-Sham after being attacked by JFS and its allies. This recent development represents one of the largest splits among opposition forces since the start of the Syrian war.

Along with JFS, the Tahrir al-Sham organisation consists of Liwa al-Haqq, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Jabhat Ansar al-Din and Jaish al-Sunna, and is likely to be led by Abu Jaber al-Sheikh, the former leader of Jaish al-Ahrar.

Fighting Tahir al-Sham are smaller factions which have joined Ahrar al-Sham, and include Jaish al-Mujahideen, Suqoor al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam in addition to Fastaqim Union, Thuwar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Shamiya in the western countryside of Aleppo.

The split between the two opposition sides widened when JFS attacked rebel factions which participated in the peace negotiations held in Astana last week. JFS, widely termed a terrorist organisation by the international community for its links with al-Qaeda, was excluded from the talks. Since then, fighting between the two coalitions has occurred across northern Syria, particularly in Idlib and Aleppo.

Demonstrations were held in northern Idlib against JFS attacks and rebel infighting.