Police arrest 13 Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists across Turkey

Turkish security forces during an anti-terror operation against HTS militants, Jan. 12, 2019. (AA Photo)

At least 13 members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group were arrested in anti-terror operations in Turkey's Istanbul, Ankara and Adana provinces on Saturday.

The terrorists were captured in apartments during simultaneous operations conducted across the provinces, while three militants could not be located, the police said.

The arrested suspects were accused of aiding the HTS terrorist organization with recruiting efforts and funneling money to the group, as well as participating in attacks in Syria.

The police said Hasan Süslü, chairman of charity organization Fukara-der, was among those arrested.

HTS terrorist group and the moderate National Liberation Front (NLF) have been clashing intermittently across Idlib and in Hama's rural countryside since late December.

The clashes started in Aleppo, spreading to Idlib's north and southeast, including the western countryside of Aleppo province, the town of Atmeh, the tent area in Idlib and the northwestern Hama province.

The two groups announced a cease-fire on Thursday and agreed to remove of the trenches and ditches dug by both sides accrossthe city. It is also expected that the groups will exchange the prisoners they captured during the clashes, according to the agreement.

Turkey designated the HTS as a terrorist group in August. The HTS is the most powerful terrorist alliance in Idlib, the last major opposition-controlled enclave outside Bashar Assad's control. After the fall of Aleppo in November 2016, dozens of opposition groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and the HTS, squeezed into Idlib.

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