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‘Largest military entity’ against Assad regime formed

Free Syrian Army members during the 'Operation Olive Branch' in northwest of Afrin’s Rajo town in Syria, on 15 February 2018 [Beha el Halebi/Anadolu Agency]

Three military factions banded together on Wednesday to form a 100,000-strong fighting force billed as the largest military opposition entity against the Assad regime in Syria’s central Hama and northwest Idlib regions, Anadolu reports.

According to sources in the Syrian opposition, the Syrian Liberation Front and the Suqour al-Sham Brigades joined the National Front for the Liberation of Syria affiliated with the Free Syria Army (FSA).

The sources told Anadolu the development is aimed at the unification of FSA’s factions in one entity.

The National Front of Liberation will continue to operate under Fadlallah al-Haji.

Read: Syrian refugee group returns from Lebanon

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

This led to a military conflict between the Syrian opposition groups and the Assad regime over the war-torn country’s territory. Iran has been supporting the Assad regime during the war while Russia intervened in September 2015.

Peace talks were launched in Geneva in 2012 aiming to find a political solution for the conflict while Astana talks began in 2017 discussing cease-fire that has been fragile so far.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the conflict mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas while millions more were displaced. During the conflict, the Assad regime was accused many times by many international actors of targeting Syrian civilians by chemical weapons.

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