Foreign jihadists in Syria’s Greater Idlib released a statement on August 22, threatening the security forces of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which fully controls the region.
In the statement, the jihadists accused HTS leader, Abu Mohamad al-Julani, of “betraying” and “selling” them, vowing to attack the checkpoints of his security forces.
“We inform you that you are targets for us as long as you help the oppressor against the oppressed … This is a warning and a threat for you to leave this disgraceful work,” the statement reads.
The jihadists also called on HTS to release Horas al-Din commander Abu Omar Manhaj, who was arrested after the recent battle between the group and the Fa Ithbatu Operations Room, as well as American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem and British aid worker Tauqir Sharif.
Sharif was allegedly arrested for “mismanaging” relief funds and supporting some projects that “incited division” in Greater Idlib. Abdu Kareem was arrested for promoting Sharif’s cause. Both men were arrested by HTS’ security forces earlier this month.
HTS was recently accused by activists in Greater Idlib of pressuring foreign jihadists in order to appease the West, mainly the U.S.
The new statement by foreign jihadists highlights these accusations, which appear to be close to reality. None of HTS fighters or commanders were killed or injured in the recent U.S. drone strikes on Greater Idlib.