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Early on June 14, the Russian Aerospace Forces reportedly carried out airstrikes on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham near the villages of al-Bara and Deir Sunbul in southern Idlib. Since the signing of the new de-escalation agreement with Turkey on March 5, the Russian military has halted active operations in Greater Idlib. Nonetheless, it continued isolated precise strikes on high value terrorist targets.

The June 14 airstrikes followed the creation of a new coalition by several al-Qaeda-linked groups operating in the region: Horas al-Din, Ansar al-Din, Ansar al-Islam, Liwa al-Muqatlin al-Ansar and Tansiqiyat al-Jihad. The coalition, dubbed “Fa Ithbatu”, is in fact an expanded variant of another al-Qaeda-linked coalition, Ghurfat Eamaliat wa-Harid al-Mu’minin. This very faction recently conducted a large attack on Syrian Army positions near Tanjarah and Fattirah killing several soldiers and destroying at least one BMP infantry fighting vehicle.

Therefore, despite the claims of pro-militant propaganda that militant groups are uniting their forces in order to fight back the possible aggression of the ‘bloody Assad regime’, the creation of Fa Ithbatulikely reveals preparations for more aggressive

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