Between February 18 and March 2, 2019, the city of Idlib, which Hayat Tahrir al-Sham/HTS controls, bore witness to three explosions that made a target of military posts, and others vital, belonging to foreign militants, fighting for opposition armed groups. The blasts took a toll on many civilians, in addition to foreign fighters and their families, after which HTS mass executed several of its captives, saying that they belonged to the organization calling itself the Islamic State/IS/Daesh.
The field researchers of Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ interviewed several eyewitnesses who gave an account of the blasts. The researchers have also visited the targeted locations and reported that military posts are stationed side by side to civil facilities in the area.
1. Two Sequential Blasts on al-Qusour Street:
On February 18, 2019, around 1:30 a.m., the first blast took place, a booby-trapped car blew up near a building in the al-Qusour Street. The building is a post for Uzbek militants, where they live accompanied by several of their families. In the same building, there is a gun shop and an office of the Glimpse of Hope Organization, which provides women-specific awareness and social services.
The second blast, however, took place about 7 to 10 minutes after the first, on the opposing side of the first blast’s location; it was another car bomb. According to the testimonies obtained by STJ, the two blasts have resulted in the death of 16 civilians and the injury of many others, stressing that the total number of fatalities is way beyond that, for the majority of the dead are foreign fighters, their wives and children, whose specific number was not documented by the entities that hospitalized them.
Refusing to say his name for security concerns, an eyewitness, who was there during the two explosions, noted that the two blasts targeted a meeting held by high-ranking officers, of the second-tier of HTS and Uzbek militants. While initial information indicates that the Syrian Government, in cooperation with Daesh, is responsible for the explosions, the witness added that a leader died and two others are critically injured.
Another eyewitness, a woman, narrated to STJ’s field researcher the following:
“We have just left the Glimpse of Hope Center, where we attended a training workshop, and it was only a short distance that we passed towards the opposite side of the street when the first car exploded behind us. Abu Bilial, a concierge, was there, and three female friends were following our suit; we knew nothing about their fate. We sped up to flee the street to hear a second explosion about ten minutes later.”
 Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State/IS.