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Hayat Tahrir al-Sham kicks Chechen jihadis out of Idlib

IDLIB — Effectively-informed sources amongst jihadi teams advised Al-Monitor that the Chechen Jund al-Sham (Troopers of the Levant) group has given in to strain from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and evacuated its army positions within the Latakia mountains.

The sources stated that many members of Jund al-Sham left their weapons and went with their households to dwell within the countryside of Jisr al-Shughur in response to the calls for of HTS, which had given the group the selection to dissolve itself or be part of its ranks. 

In accordance with the sources, HTS had given Jund al-Sham a deadline to dissolve or be compelled to hitch it. In conferences between HTS leaders headed by Abu Maria al-Qahtani and 5 leaders from Jund al-Sham headed by Muslim al-Shishani, Qahtani rejected all of the options Shishani proposed and insisted the faction be dissolved. 

On July 2, Shishani shared the small print of his assembly with HTS, saying that his group was requested to go away Idlib.

“We obtained a summons from the commander of HTS’ Common Safety Service, and the following day I went with fellow members to satisfy with him. He requested me to dissolve the group and go away Idlib, and he advised me it is a closing resolution as a result of HTS in management in Idlib and won’t permit anybody to disobey it,” Shishani stated in an announcement that was circulated on social media.

He added, “Jund al-Sham has by no means been in any confrontation towards HTS and has by no means engaged in combating between factions because it was shaped eight years in the past. How can we be requested to go away after our leaders and members have turn into internationally wished for combating in Syria?”

Abbas Sharifeh, a Turkey-based researcher on jihadi teams on the Jusoor Heart for Research, advised Al-Monitor, “Jund al-Sham dissolved itself in response to HTS’ calls for. Did they actually comply with this or is it for present? HTS doesn’t thoughts if Jund al-Sham’s members nonetheless struggle the regime [individually], as long as they’re not a part of a faction.”

He added, “HTS is making an attempt to redraw the jihadi panorama in Idlib and add the fighters of the teams it dissolves to its ranks. It needs to indicate overseas events that it’s combating and eliminating jihadi teams in Idlib.”

He famous, “As a result of Jund al-Sham dissolved itself, it doesn’t pose an issue for HTS. Jund al-Sham members will stay as people in Idlib and a few might head to the areas managed by the Free Syrian Military affiliated with Turkey. They won’t be part of HTS for ideological causes. In the meantime, the Taliban will not be searching for new members, so only a few former fighters from Jund al-Sham would find yourself becoming a member of it.”

Sharifeh identified that HTS is remaking the jihadi scene with solely Syrian nationals to indicate that it’s dedicated to worldwide agreements.

A former jihadi chief nicknamed Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Shami who resides in Idlib advised Al-Monitor, “A few of the small Syrian teams affiliated with Jund al-Sham determined at hand over their weapons and sit on the sidelines for now. They refused to hitch HTS and are ready for a complete entity that represents your entire native army pressure in Idlib. If Shishani doesn’t go to Turkey, he may head to Afghanistan, however going to Afghanistan requires coordination with the Taliban.”

Shishani could select to dissolve the faction however he’ll probably attain a personal settlement with HTS that advantages each events, he famous. 

Shami added that each one small formations of non-Syrian fighters and native rebels who oppose HTS and refuse to hitch it will face the identical destiny as Jund al-Sham.

Abu Khaled al-Muhajir, a jihadi chief near Jund al-Sham residing within the Idlib countryside, advised Al-Monitor, “Jund al-Sham has not fully dissolved itself, nevertheless it not has a presence within the discipline. The group will make an official announcement in a number of days, and its fighters will stay as people combating the regime. They will be unable to go to their house international locations as a result of they’re wished by the safety companies there. It could be higher for them to remain and struggle the Syrian regime however with out being a part of a gaggle in Idlib.”

He added, “HTS is making an attempt to ascertain a state and doesn’t need any competitors. In the meantime, some former Jund al-Sham fighters may head to Turkey and dwell as civilians with their households, whereas others might go to Afghanistan, however Shishani is not going to go away Syria and HTS could arrest him within the coming months to eradicate any menace he could pose.”

An HTS chief residing in Idlib advised Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity, “HTS is establishing a state and there is not going to be any teams inside that state that aren’t beneath its umbrella. HTS will thus not permit any group to function independently as it really works to ascertain a unified establishment. It’s not what it was years in the past: a gaggle that then accepted the existence of different teams. The scenario is totally totally different in the present day.”

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