first published on May 2, 2018 by Sean
Al Qaeda in Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) continues its offensive operations with a brutal no quarter mentality. Graphic GoPro video shows the execution of several fighters after their surrender and capture by HTS.
HTS continues its ruthless consolidation over territory inside the Idlib rebel pocket. Waging a brutal war and near simultaneous operations against Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Free Syrian Army (FSA), and Islamic State (IS), vying for greater control and strategic positioning in post-IS Syria. This ambitious bid for power comes in the wake of the Islamic State’s expulsion from most of Syria in recent months, the enduring anti-Assad feelings amongst the Sunni population, and the recent Turkish interdiction in Idlib, which is purportedly supporting the HTS faction.
With this secure flank and material support, and an apparent tactical competency more evolved than your typical thuggish Takbirs, HTS is free to exploit the myriad of rival factions within the FSA and successfully engage an overstretched SAA. The Turks now separate the Idlib pocket from the Kurds, and other than a recent attack by IS fighters near Abu Dali, the Islamic state is now almost entirely pushed away from HTS’s territory by the SAA. HTS can easily fill this power vacuum within the remaining Sunni population now that the Islamic State is gone. Building its military and economic strength in anticipation for the return of SAA forces after the total defeat of IS in Syria.
The GoPro video shows an HTS fighter assaulting through a sparse desert orchard, and towards several small mud-hut buildings. The initial shock of their assault was enough to chase off many of the defenders, leaving several observable deserted foxholes. One foxhole yields an abandoned PKM, which the cameraman quickly picks up and turns against his foes. After the PKM goes dry, the HTS fighter and a few of his comrades continue to advance and suppress, moving closer to the mud-huts.
Eventually getting just a few meters away, the cameraman slowly closes in and begins excitedly shouting towards the building. Slowly pieing off the narrow alley between the two buildings, one militant attempting to surrender becomes visible. He moves closer, and three more fighters still donning weapons become visible. Completely startled, they make a fatal decision – they comply. Sluggishly dropping their weapons, they follow the cameraman’s commands and huddle together on the ground. The cameraman unhesitatingly opens firing at point blank range savagely executing all four men in seconds, followed by a second HTS fighter who joins in the battlefield executions. The cameraman then pickups an enemy RPG and fires in the likely direction of the retreating forces, concluding the HTS propaganda video.
Graphic Content Warning: This video contains graphic content that may be unsuitable for some viewers.