On Thursday, Syrian opposition figures from Idlib governorate announced the formation of Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) during a conference held near Bab al-Hawa crossing in the northern Idlib countryside.
The announcement was covered by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham-linked news agency Iba’a. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) was formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
Syrian opposition sources reveled that Muhammad Al-Sheikh was chosen as the prime minister of the SSG. The sources added that al-Sheikh is a strict supporter of HTS, and part of its “Civil Administrations” in Idlib governorate.
Furthermore, all the ministers in the SSG are minor or local opposition figures that suppor HTS. Many of them are already part of its “Civil Administration”, according to opposition and local sources.
The only known figure in the SSG is Riad al-Asaad, the former commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Al-Asaad is known for being a supporter of HTS, but also for being nothing but an empty name. The former commander of the FSA has joined every government or military council that was formed by any side of the Syrian opposition since his defection from the Syrian Air Force back in 2011.
The SSG is clearly just another attempt by HTS to legalize its existence in the Idlib governorate. This attempt will likely fail, because it’s not backed by any major Syrian opposition figures or any regional powers, not evern Turkey.
Back on August 2, US special envoy to Syria, Michael Rantley warned the Syrian opposition and the FSA from dealing with HTS or its “Civil Administration” in Idlib governorate. Rantley warned that if HTS takes full control over Idlib governorate, the US would not be able to persuade other parties not to take military action in Idlib.