Syrian columnist Andrew Britani has published the coordinates of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham facilities on the southeastern edge of Idlib.
35.9222531, 36.6421713 – warehouse
35.9217446, 36.6412584 – headquarters (suspiciously similar to a pool)
Who are Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the most powerful group in the last province held by rebels in Syria?
The ongoing government offensive against the last rebel-held areas in northern Syria has once again put the spotlight on the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the dominant faction in Idlib Province.
Although HTS, formerly known as Nusra Front, continues to pursue a jihadist agenda, it formally split from al-Qaeda in 2016, prompting harsh criticism from al-Qaeda leadership and defections by al-Qaeda loyalists.
Al-Qaeda appears to have given up on HTS returning to the fold. A new group called Hurras al-Din which emerged last year is widely believed to be al-Qaeda’s new branch in Syria.
Despite this, the UN and a number of countries continue to consider HTS as an al-Qaeda affiliate and to frequently use its former name, Nusra Front.
The group itself appears to be trying to strike a balance between maintaining its jihadist credentials and distancing itself from global jihadist groups for the sake of survival.
HTS today is one of the strongest militant factions in northern Syria, having consolidated its power in the region through seizing territory from rival rebel groups in the past two years.