Idlib residents — already chafing under Tahrir al-Sham rule — are increasingly apprehensive about their situation following a recent "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) execution of three rival Tahrir al-Sham elements, an activist said.
ISIS elements in northern Syria recently kidnapped three Tahrir al-Sham elements on the main Idlib-al-Mastouma road, beheaded them with knives and strung one of them up on a bridge, activist Musab Assaf told Diyaruna.
Pro-ISIS websites and social media channels posted photos documenting the murders, which were claimed by the group’s Wilayat Idlib branch.
In addition to executing their captives, Assaf said, the ISIS elements hung one of the bodies from a bridge in the city of Ariha.
Another was thrown on the ground under it, he said, with the third "thrown on the ground hundreds of meters away" from the other two.
The corpses were dressed in orange uniforms, Assaf said, and were named as "Tahrir al-al-Sham elements Qutaiba Rahmoun, Saeed Rahmoun and Muhammad al-Abdo".
ISIS claims revenge attack
ISIS distributed a statement in conjunction with the execution, announcing it had been carried out in retaliation for a recent incident in the town of Kafr Hind.
In this incident, Tahrir al-Sham elements raided an ISIS training centre, killing or capturing a number of the group’s elements.
In its statement, ISIS also labeled Tahrir al-Sham and other opposition groups in the region as kuffar — infidels — because of their hostility towards it, demonstrated by their capture and detention of ISIS elements.
"Panic spread throughout Idlib when news of the executions spread," Assaf said, especially in the area where the Tahrir al-Sham elements had been kidnapped.
This area is under Tahrir al-Sham control, not ISIS control, he noted, and the same is true of the locations where the bodies were found after the execution.