Fighting between two of the largest jihadist groups in northwestern Syria has come to an end, for now, with the announcement of a truce being reached by both sides after a solid week of escalating infighting.
The fighting was between Ahrar al-Sham and a coalition dominated by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, calling itself Tahrir al-Sham. The fighting was both over territory and general pecking order in the Idlib Province, the last bastion of most of Syria’s rebellion.
The truce appears to be less an example of cooler heads prevailing than Nusra allowing its rivals to save face, as Nusra forces had reportedly surrounded the Ahrar al-Sham fighters near a key border crossing into neighboring Turkey, an important source of weapons and fighters.
Under the terms of the ceasefire, the Ahrar al-Sham agreed to withdraw from the border crossing in return for it being transferred to civilian administration. This keeps the border crossing open for all rebel factions in Idlib, while the circumstances of the ceasefire make it clear the Nusra Front remains very much the top faction.