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Ahrar al-Sham appoints new commander after al Qaeda defeat

Hassan Sofan

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Once Syria's powerful Islamist group, Ahrar al-Sham movement has appointed new General Commander on Sunday after surprise defeats by former al-Qaeda group last two weeks in northern Syria.

Hassan Sofan, former Islamist prisoner who spent 12 years in notorious Saydnaya prison, is due to lead the movement that suffered defections and weakens after being expelled from its main strongholds in Idlib in the last two weeks by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of jihadist groups led by formerly known as Nusra Front.

Ahrar al-Sham, the moderate rebel group that voiced support to the Syrian revolution and raised its independence flag, has faced criticism by Tahrir al-Sham which seemed to be preparing itself to major battle with Turkey and the U.S.-led coalition after the defeat of the Islamic State in Raqqa.

Rebel commanders told Zaman al-Wasl that Washington has no intention to fight al-Qaeda in Syria, giving the upper hand to 'Nusra’ in Idlib province by halting the CIA arms programme.

Tahrir al-Sham fighters who reached the border with Turkey have also sparked Turkey fears that vowed to deploy troop in in Idlib.

Meanwhile, activists have been demanding rapid reforms in the structure and the mentality of the Islamist factions in what suit the international developments and the new political map of Syria.

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