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Alliances, Conflicts Redraw North Syria Map - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut, Moscow- Fighting raged on Wednesday between opposition factions in north Syria while Ahrar al-Sham movement announced a general mobilization against Fatah al-Sham, previously known by Al-Nusra Front, hours after the latter clamped down on Jaish al-Mujahideen and controlled their bases.

Al-Mujahideen now joins 14 other opposition factions, which Al-Nusra had previously crushed in Syria.

Sham network reported on Wednesday that Fatah al-Sham fighters entered the main stations of Jaish al-Mujahideen in the town of al-Halzounah and had controlled their headquarters.

But amid the latest field developments, Ahrar al-Sham succeeded to draw Thouar al-Sham brigades and a large number of al-Mujahideen members to its ranks.

Later on Wednesday, Jaish al-Majahideen announced they would join the ranks of Ahrar al-Sham to “stop Fatah al-Sham from controlling the FSA army in the countryside of west Aleppo.”

Other reports said on Wednesday that additional factions had also joined Ahrar al-Sham ranks paving the way for the creation of the biggest fighting faction in North Syria.

Meanwhile, escalatory tension prevailed on the frontlines between factions operating in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo provinces and along the administrative borderline of the two areas, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The observatory also spoke about mediation efforts exerted to stop the battles after factions succeeded to remove Fatah al-sham fighters from their positions in the towns and villages of Jabal al-Zawiya and the outskirts of Maarat al-Nuaman city.

In return, Fatah al-Sham fighters controlled Anadan, Kfar Hamra, Khan al-Asal, Hariyatan and Awram al-Koubra in the west and northwest of Aleppo province.

Ahrar al-Sham leader Abu Ammar al-Omar said: “If the fighting continues and if one party continues to do injustice to another, then we will not allow this to pass, regardless of the cost, even if we become victimized.”

Member of the National Coalition Mohammed Maktabi told Asharq Al-Awsat the fighting that erupted between opposition factions and Fatah al-Sham was anticipated because the latter was playing a role similar to that of ISIS while opposition factions were forced to deal with the group as a fait accompli despite opposing al-Nusra’s behavior and approach.

Meanwhile, two weeks ahead of the Geneva conference and the bolstering of the ceasefire, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced he would meet with Syrian political forces to remove doubts that Russia, Turkey and Iran were trying to replace all what was achieved on Syria before holding the Astana talks.

The meeting between the political forces and the Russian foreign minister could also constitute a key to expand the “High Negotiation Committee,” sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Separately, Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported that the draft constitution which a Russian delegation handed over to representatives of the Syrian regime in Damascus includes changing the name “Syrian Arab Republic” into the “Syrian Republic”, by removing the word “Arab,” to underline that Syria is “a secular state.”

The alleged draft constitution also included a reference to local administration areas and would provide equality between Kurdish and Arabic language in these areas.

The Russian-proposed constitution would also change the name of the Syrian Parliament from “People’s Council” to “People’s Assembly.”