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Syrian revolutionary flag flying over Ahrar al-Sham controlled border crossing for first time in years Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian revolutionary flag flying over Ahrar al-Sham controlled border crossing for first time in years

Syria's pre-Baath flag was adopted by anti-regime activists early in the revolution [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 July, 2017

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Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham raised the revolutionary flag associated with the Free Syrian Army at a border crossing with Turkey as tensions simmer with a jihadi rival coalition.
Syrian rebels raised the revolutionary flag above a border crossing with Turkey on Saturday, the first time the green-white-black banner has flown over the Bab al-Hawa in many years.

Ahrar al-Sham fighters hoisted the huge banner on the Turkey border on Saturday, where it will fly alongside a white "Shahada" flag - bearing the Muslim testemony of faith - which the Islamist group commonly uses.

The flag is 17 metres in length and was hoisted on a 25 metre flag post at the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

The green-white-black banner was Syria's national flag before the Baath Party ruled the country and has been adopted by anti-regime revolutionaries since near the start of the 2011 revolution.

It is believed to be the first time since at least 2013 that the flag has flown over the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib province.

The flag is used by Syria's opposition government and the Free Syrian Army which has been one of the rebel camp's more moderate forces.

The decision by Ahrar al-Sham to raise the flag at the border point it controls comes at a significant time.

Tensions are simmering between the Islamist coalition group and its al-Qaeda linked rival Tahrir al-Sham northern Syria's Idlib province, according to activists.

Both coalitions are competing for influence in the only Syrian province fully in the control of rebels, with some analysts suggesting a potential intra-opposition battle couldd break out at the border crossing.

In an attempt to appear the moderate party, Ahrar al-Sham issued a fatwa permitting the use of the colours of the revolutionary banner in its branding and for supporters to fly the flag.

A leader from the group also appeared next to the flag during a video statement last month.

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