In a turn of events that many observers of Syria's northwest did not expect, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which dominates Idlib and its environs, has advanced into the Afrin enclave ('Olive Branch' zone) and has seized the important towns of Jindiris and Afrin. This zone had previously been dominated by the first three legions of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army. In a notable split, however, two major groups (the al-Hamza Division and the Sultan Sultan Suleiman Shah Division) of the Syrian National Army are allied to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which is also being supported by Ahrar al-Sham. This alliance is primarily opposed by forces of the Third Legion of the Syrian National Army, which is at the present time primarily represented in the Shami Front and Jaysh al-Islam groups.
There have been various reports and rumours regarding whether Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham will withdraw and alleged Turkish mediation between the conflicting sides. What is clear however is Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's desire to expand its authority beyond Idlib and its immediate environs and into the areas of north Aleppo countryside spanning from Afrin to Jarabulus. Not only were there hints of this desire in speeches given by Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani over the summer (as noted by Aaron Zelin), but also in the current discourse of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's leaders and supporters. For example, 'al-Shimali al-Hur' (one of the more familiar pro-Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham accounts) has been using the hashtag: "One liberated area." This reflects a goal of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham since its inception: to realise a single-faction-led project unifying the insurgent-held areas of Syria.
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