SUN 12 - 7 - 2020
Date: Jun 24, 2020
Source: The Daily Star
HTS arrest Talli in Idlib
BEIRUT: Abu Malik al-Talli, a former top official in the Idlib-based Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and formerly of the Al-Qaeda affiliate named Jabhat al-Nusra, was arrested Monday in Idlib. Talli's arrest was carried out by HTS security forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. HTS is a combination of various Salafist groups operating under one banner and is the major ruling power in Idlib, the last rebel enclave, located in north west Syria. The arrest was ordered by HTS commander in chief Abu Mohammad al-Joulani.

Talli's arrest follows recent friction with the HTS leadership, regarding the group's public relations strategy as well as toward Russia and Turkey's de-escalation efforts in Idlib. He split from HTS on April 7, in rejection of de-escalation agreements, despite agreeing to designating Idlib a de-escalation zone in October 2018.

Talli is a well known figure in Lebanon due to his presence around Arsal, where Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra figures were installed in the mountains bordering Lebanon and Syria up until 2017. Their mountain hideouts gave them access to the Lebanese town and the militants carried out attacks on Lebanese Army personnel, kidnapping some and gaining ransom money for their return.

By mid-2017 efforts by both Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army had succeeded in driving out Daesh and the other militant groups from the Arsal area. Lebanese media from that time reported that Talli had most likely been killed in a helicopter strike, yet these reports proved mistaken.

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