About the power dynamics between and within the jihadi factions in Idlib - New article by CMES Orwa Ajjoub

Orwa article

On the 18th April, the town of Armanaz in the north-western countryside of the city of Idlib witnessed an escalation between Hayet Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the hegemonic jihadi group in Idlib province, and Hurras al-Din (HAD), the group believed to be Al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria. Reportedly, tensions escalated after HTS members attempted to expel HAD personnel from their bases in Armanaz.

The dispute was shortly contained without any reported causalities. The incident was not the first of its kind, as the groups have seen occasional tension over other issues, such as HTS’s severing of ties with Al-Qaeda, the Turkish military presence in north-west Syria and their positions on the international agreements concerning the situation in Idlib. This has led some to argue that HTS’s decision to destroy HAD has already been made. To assess the plausibility of such a claim, one needs to understand the complicated and fragile relationship between the two groups, their common grounds and the power dynamics between and within the jihadi factions in Idlib.


Orwa Ajjoub is an affiliated researcher at the center for Middle Eastern Studies in Lund university. In 2018, Orwa graduated from the same institution where he defended his Master’s thesis which looks at the theological aspect of the split between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in 2013. Although his interest has been mainly focused on Salafi-Jihadi groups in the Middle East, Orwa wrote some articles about the Syrian society during the war and particularly about Syrian LGBTQ in Europe. His work was published on different media websites such as Syria Deeply, Huffington Post and World Policy. During the last two years, Orwa has participated in two academic conferences where he discussed al-Qaeda presence in Syria. In addition to writing journalistic articles, Orwa is currently working on an academic report discussing the future menace of the Islamic state and other Salafi-Jihadi groups such Al-Qaeda.

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