A new terrorist formation, Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham, consists of 25,000 militants, with Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists at its core, the intelligence chief of Russia’s General Staff said. He also spoke of the terrorists’ favorite tactics, state-of-the-art equipment and ways of getting profit.
“Currently, more than 70 gangs, including those from the ranks of the opposition, which used to consider themselves ‘moderate,’ have banded together. The total strength of the Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham group exceeds 25,000 militants,” Col. Gen. Igor Korobov, the head of the Main Directorate of the Russian General Staff (the foreign military intelligence agency), said during a roundtable on Friday as part of the Army-2017 international military-technical forum, held in the Moscow Region.
The key role in the formation belongs to Jabhat al-Nura (Nusra Front), which is “engaged in active hostilities against the Syrian government forces and moderate opposition in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib and Hama,” he added.
Jabhat al-Nura currently “includes more than 15,000 militants, most of whom are Syrians," the military intelligence chief said.
As for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the group’s numbers exceed 9,000 militants, according to the General Staff estimates.