The former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is in possession of advanced weapon systems, that may include chemical weapons, Khalid al-Mahamid, a prominent figure of the Syrian opposition, admitted during a recent interview with the al-Arabiya al-Hadath TV.
“Al-Nusra [the original name of HTS] possess advanced weapons … Maybe chemical weapons … Maybe long-range rockets,” al-Mahamid said in the interview, which was broadcasted on May 11.
The opposition leader added that he personally has information on these “advanced weapons” and on what countries provided HTS with them.
Al-Mahamid is known as the godfather of the reconciliation process in southern Syria, which was agreed upon in 2018. The UAE-based businessman persuaded thousands of former FSA fighters in the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra to join the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) 5th Corps.
During the recent interview, al-Mahamid acknowledged that many sides had warned the Syrian opposition from HTS’ presence in Idlib. He also held Turkey responsible for the terrorist group’s growing influence in the northern Syrian governorate.
“We, as an opposition, bear a part of the responsibility, in all international meetings there was figures warning us from al-Nusra and how to deal with it,” al-Mahamid said.
Last year, al-Mahamid said in a similar interview that there is an “an international agreement” to eliminate HTS in Idlib, claiming that the U.S. had approved the agreement, which was organized by Russia.
Al-Mahamid’s remarks are in line with recent reports by Russian, Lebanese and Syrian sources, who claimed that HTS had received chemical weapons from foreign powers in order to stage an attack in Idlib. A chemical attack could justify a military action by the U.S. and its allies against Damascus government forces.
- Syrian Army Secures Key Town In Northwestern Hama, Kills & Captures Scores Of Terrorists (Video, Photos)