Turkey: Police detains nine HTS suspects in Ankara

Turkey: Police detains nine HTS suspects in Ankara
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Officials from Turkey and the US met in Syria’s Afrin to discuss the recent advance of the Hayat Tahrir al Sham as Ankara police began an extensive operation against the jihadist group

Nine suspects were detained by the police on Monday in Turkey’s capital Ankara in an extensive operation against Hayat Tahrir al Sham, as the jihadist organization continued to create anxiety in Northern Syria after it captured the city of Afrin.

A large number of organizational documents and digital materials were seized during the operation and search was underway for two more suspects, Ankara police said on Twitter. 

Turkish armed forces also pressured the organization formerly known as al Nusra in Northern Syria and forced them to make a deal with Turkish backed factions of Syrian National Army and withdraw from Afrin and surrounding areas.

But it still retains influence in the region through their allies which largely consist of Turkmen-dominated groups who sided with the HTS during the battle. They have been left in place to govern the areas, according to Forbes

HTS, a jihadist group that is the dominant power in Syria's Idlib Governorate, was the main affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria until 2018 and is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

HTS' seizure Afrin, which was mostly Kurdish until the Turkish incursion in 2018, coincided with Turkey’s moves to establish diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.  

Meanwhile, officials from Turkey and the US met in Afrin to discuss the matter, Rudaw reported.

“The meeting took place in Afrin on Friday. In addition to the US and Turkish officials, representatives of the Emshad group and even some names from HTS took part in the meeting,” said Adnan Murad, an advisor to the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) in Rudaw TV.