The visit of Suhail al-Hassan, the commander of Division 25, affiliated with the Syrian government forces, to the fighting fronts in Idleb, northwest Syria, was for inspection, opposition military sources said on Sunday.
Hassan, nicknamed al-Nimr is known for his allegiance to Russia. In fact, the leadership of Division 25 enjoys the support of the Russian forces, as it is considered the key player in the battles waged by the government forces with the support of Russian aviation in northwestern Syria.
The points that al-Hassan visited included the fronts and areas of Zawiya Mountain and Maarat al-Numan in the Idleb countryside.
The visit aroused fears among residents of the area, that it was intended to launch a military operation.
However, sources told North Press that the visit was an inspection, and ruled out that there would be any field military operation nearby in the area.
Activists on social media circulated footage showing members of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) appeared in the main square in the city of Sarmada, north of Idleb, chanting, “We are coming, Damascus, we are coming, Aleppo.”
Brigadier General Ahmad Rahhal told North Press, commenting on the video, that “it is only nonsense for the media and to deceive people.” “When did the HTS fight the regime?” Rahhal wondered.
In January, al-Jolani said in a speech during the opening of the Aleppo-Bab al-Hawa highway that connects the cities of Dana and Sarmada, “Our goal is not to pave a road or open a road, but rather our eyes are on Aleppo and Damascus and the liberation of all Syria.”
His statements at the time aroused the ridicule of residents, who believed that al-Jolani would better help thousands of civilians return to their villages and towns, which he handed over, especially in the northern countryside of Hama and southern countryside of Idleb, without fighting or battles in late 2019.
For nearly three years, the HTS, led by al-Jolani, has been seeking to show itself as a non-jihadist organization that is not affiliated with al-Qaeda.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.