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Key rebel group leaves Tahrir al-Sham alliance over Idlib's strife

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Noor al-Din al-Zenki Movement broke away from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham on Thursday over the ongoing clashes between the former a;-Qaeda group and powerful Ahrar al-Sham movement.

In a video statement, the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement said that while it was “a pioneer in projects to integrate and unite the Syrian revolution,” it decided to separate from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham due to a deviation in direction. The Movement justified its decision as based on “the lack of arbitration according to precious Sharia after efforts to govern according to it.”

The Movement indicated that Hay’at’s failure to arbitrate according to the Sharia was manifested in several actions including, “not accepting the initiative launched by distinguished scholars last Thursday night,” overturning the Hay’at’s Fatwa Committee and issuing a Shariah Council statement without the knowledge of most of its members.

Al-Zenki accused Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham of “bypassing the Hay’at’s Shura Council and taking a decision to fight Ahrar al-Sham Movement although the Hay’at was formed based on the principle of not attacking other factions.”

The Nur al-Din al-Zenki Movement has taken a neutral stance since the outbreak of clashes between the Hay’at and Ahrar al-Sham on Wednesday. The clashes have claimed the lives of dozens of victims between dead and wounded from both sides in addition to civilian lives.

The Nur al-Din al-Zenki Movement has 8,000 fighters, and its separation from the Hay’at will act as a major blow to the Hay’at since its inception.

Abu Salah Tahan, a former leader in the al-Zenki Movement and currently a military commander in the Hay’at, said that they launched an initiative to resolve the dispute. The head of the Hay’at Shura Council and Tawfiq Shahab al-Din, the leader of the al-Zenki Movement, launched the initiative which was signed by three independent jurists.

The initiative, agreed to by the Ahrar and referred to the Hay’at for consultation, stipulates that “both parties shall cease fighting at midnight on Wednesday for seven days during which they shall delegate three representatives from each party and agree to 3 others for arbitration.”

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