Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) continues to express outrage at the U.S. actions since Washington have included the HST in the list of terrorist organizations.
Affiliated with the HST Ibaa news agency published a video in which HTS media masterminders deny the US allegations on group’s ties with al-Qaeda. HST’s actions are quite understandable as the jihadists are afraid of possible strikes from the side of the US-led international coalition as well as of blocking any support. Tahrir al-Sham is equal in status to ISIS nowadays.
Meanwhile, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham claims that the Tandheem Hurras al-Deen (The Organization for the Guardians of the Religion or the Religious Guardians’ Organization), al-Qaeda’s new, if unofficial, branch in Syria. Hurras al-Deen group has close ties with al-Qaeda and directly obeys Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al-Qaeda. Thus, HTS is risking to place itself under attack by a friendly group. For all the time of these groups’ existence, they have never fought each other. Although Hurras al-Deen broke away from the HTS but still al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists continue to participate in joint operations with HTS against the Syrian army and its allies.
This is not the first experience of such a maneuver for Abu Muhammad al-Julani. For example, in the summer of 2016, he conducted a rebranding of ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ renaming the group in ‘Jabhat Fatah ash-Sham’ to cut off any possible and logical ties with Al-Qaeda and thus to prevent from the possible blow of the international coalition. In turn, it aroused the outrage of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
What’s ridiculous is that HST leaders reminisce about the U.S. assistance of Kurdish detachments and providing equipment, weapons, and ammunition. At the same time, a number of countries, incl. and esp. Turkey considers the Kurdish formations as terrorists. HTS states that the United States pursues a policy of double standards, acts in its own interests, and not in the interests of the Syrian people! It is like a rule the more preposterous, the better.
In fact, such frank appeals to the U.S. and the ostentatious concern for the Syrian people made by the radical Islamist group should shock no one. HST’s leadership has withdrawn from the ideas of Islam long ago (and the Syrian ‘revolution’ never interested them). The only thing that worries them now is not the position of the people of Syria, but their own well-being.