Leader of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham Abu Mohammad Al-Joulani declared his support to an expected Turkish military operation against Kurdish armed groups in northeastern Syria during an interview with Amjad Media on January 14.
He stressed that his group, the former official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, supports “the operation to liberate the eastern Euphrates”. Al-Joulani said that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is an important part of the so-called “Syrian revolution”.
He also rejected criticism from his militant counterparts that the recent Hayat Tahrir al-Sham expansion within the Idlib de-escalation zone opens a route for a Russian-backed military operation in the area. Commenting on this situation, he claimed that there were no Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members in southern Syria and Homs, but they were anyway re-taken by the Damascus government.
Recently, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham de-facto established a full control of the most of the Idlib de-escalation zone by defeating the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation and forcing it to accept own rule across the area. Despite this, Ankara is not hurrying up to accept the reality and claims that all is fine with the de-escalation zone agreement. The Turkish foreign minister even blamed Damscus and its allies for the growth of terrorism in Idlib.
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