Syrian rebel fighters prepare for an upcoming government offensive in the countryside of Idlib province.
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in Idlib battleHailing from far and wide, they flocked to Syria to wage "holy war". Now foreign Islamist militants face a fight to the last to hold onto Idlib, their final bastion. Since 2015, Idlib has been home to a complex array of anti-regime forces: secular rebels, Islamists, Syrian militants with ties to Al-Qaeda – and their foreign counterparts. One of the largest is the Turkestan Islamic Party, whose members belong to the ethnic Uighur Muslim minority facing a stifling crackdown in China's Xinjiang region.They gained fighting experience in Afghanistan before heading to Syria and helping to oust regime troops from Idlib in 2015 .Perhaps the most infamous foreign combatants are Chechens, veterans of brutal wars with Russia and linked to HTS.
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