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Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham Released Commander-In-Chief Of Al-Qaeda-Linked Operations

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Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) had released Abu Omar Manhaj, Commander-in-Chief of al-Qaeda-affiliated Fa Ithbatu Operations Room, several Syrian opposition sources reported on October 26.

Manhaj handed himself over to a Sharia [Islamic] court of HTS more than four months ago as a part of an agreement between the group and his operations room. The agreement, which was reached on June 26, put an end to a serious conflict between the two sides.

The commander was reportedly behind several attacks on HTS checkpoint and positions in western Idlib. The attacks were launched from Arab Said.

Manhaj, a Syrian citizen, returned to the country in 2012 to join anti-government group. At first, he fought with the Ahrar al-Sham Movement.

Unsatisfied with the group’s ideology and limited resources, Manhaj defected and went back to Lebanon. Later, he returned to Syria to join the al-Nusra Front, the main branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.

Manhaj continued to serve as a commander in the group even after it left al-Qaeda in 2016 and was rebranded to HTS in 2017.

In 2018, however, Manhaj defected to join Horas al-Din, which was established by prominent al-Qaeda commanders who left HTS. In 2020, he was supposedly appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the newly-formed Fa Ithbatu Operations Room.

The release of Abu Omar Manhaj is an example of the organic relation between HTS and al-Qaeda in Syria. Despite engaging in several confrontations with Horas al-Din, HTS is still incapable of taking decisive action against the group or any al-Qaeda-affiliated figure in Greater Idlib.

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Peter Jennings

These groups are all splinter groups from the same source, and most probably the reason why
HTS is incapable of taking action against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups. The orders come from the top, vis-a-vis the US, nato, isreal and some saudi countries.

The handlers don’t mind the in-fighting but draw the line if it means the destruction of resources.

Abu must be needed somewhere else.

FlorianGeyer

My thoughts as well.

Willing Conscience (The Truths

“The release of Abu Omar Manhaj is an example of the organic relation between HTS and al-Qaeda in Syria. Despite engaging in several confrontations with Horas al-Din, HTS is still incapable of taking decisive action against the group or any al-Qaeda-affiliated figure in Greater Idlib.”

Are you kidding SF, HTS has arrested or killed hundreds of Al Qaeda members over the last 4 months or more, and many of them very very prominent members of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood [same thing].
And from the start of the year the US has been killing heaps of them with ninja missile strikes too, and just recently the Russians have started bombing the crap out of them as well, though the Russian news sources always try to label them as HTS affiliated instead of naming their true allegiances, which is with the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda [Turkish backed], who are actually sworn enemies of HTS and the Salvation Government. The Russians bomb the TIP [Uighurs] and Chechens who are allied to HTS but the TIP’s and Chechens true loyalties are with the Muslim Brotherhood and Erdogan.
This is the second agreement between HTS and Al Qaeda, the first attempt was when they initiated the Al-Fateh al-Mubin Operations room agreement and look how that turned out, Abu Omar Manhaj and others were arrested for breaking the agreement, they kept attacking the SAA and Syrian Government despite HTS telling them not too, and now they have another new agreement, LOL, lets see how long this one lasts.
The HTS leopard wants to change it’s spots and become a political opposition group instead of a military opposition group, but the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda/Erdogan don’t want that to happen, they want HTS to keep fighting the Syrian Government, that’s what this all boils down to.
The moderate opposition that Turkey backs are the groups who are supposed to sit down with the Syrian Government and come to a political solution, but instead it’s actually HTS sitting down with the Syrian Government and working out agreements [open border crossings, prisoner swaps, trade deals], the moderate opposition groups are instead fighting the Syrian Government continuously and won’t stop. But Russia, Turkey, and Iran will only allow the moderate opposition groups who are now fighting the SAA to be included in the political solution, so how the hells that going to work out.
Russia,Iran, and Turkey designated HTS as a terrorist organization and excluded them from participating in a political settlement [rightly so before 2020], but the SNA, NFL, FSA, SLF, were all included in the political settlement. But as we can all see with our own eyes [that’s if we read anything but Russian/Turkish/Iranian news], it’s actually the groups who belong to the moderate opposition who won’t stop fighting the Syrian Government, and even worse still they don’t want the designated terrorists HTS to come to a settlement with the Syrian Government either.
So why bother trying to push the Astana agreements and resolution 2254 if the moderate opposition won’t stop fighting the Government, Russia and Iran should just scrap both agreements and start again.
Russia and Iran should both stand up to Erdogan and say it’s not working, the moderates won’t stop fighting and they no longer have majority support, therefore must be excluded from the political process, and their military arms disbanded or destroyed, that’s what they should say to Erdogan, but they won’t.
Poor Assad, he does deals with the people Russia and Iran designated as terrorists [according to the Astana agreements and resolution 2254], and has to fight the people Russia and Iran labeled as moderate opposition forces, it makes sense to some people but not to me, I’m on Assad’s side, I say scrap the moderate opposition and deal with the people who actually will make deals [and stick to them].
And no I have no love for HTS but as the old saying goes “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and since HTS and the Salvation Government are actually fighting Turkey and the Syrian Interim Government for political control of the occupied territories, I’d say use HTS to help “divide and conquer”, which is another good saying. And on top of that HTS isn’t fighting the SAA but the moderate opposition are, so Assad can actually kill two birds with the one HTS stone, a political settlement and a military settlement one after the other.
Assad can come to a settlement with HTS and then let HTS finish kicking the Turkish backed moderate opposition groups out altogether, which would mean Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood would have no legitimate excuse left to remain in Syria, the UN could be asked to help force Turkey out militarily [politically not militarily].
If you think coming to a political settlement with HTS is a bad idea and completely the wrong thing to do, then it must mean you must prefer the Russian/Iranian/Turkish alternative, which is to allow the Turkish backed moderate opposition groups who are still fighting the SAA, to be part of the final political solution.
They’re the only 2 choices Assad has, he doesn’t have any other alternatives, he can only choose between HTS and the moderate opposition groups, and as you’re all aware by now, Assad only does prisoner swaps, opens border crossings, and does trade deals with HTS, he doesn’t do that with any of the Turkish/Russian/Iranian backed moderate opposition groups.
I think Russia and Iran have got it wrong and Assad’s got it right, Assad can tell the difference between moderate opposition forces and terrorists but the Russians and Iranians can’t.
And yes I do feel sick in the stomach when I call HTS a moderate opposition group, I know their history better than most and know what they’ve done, but since the start of the year I have to acknowledge the facts as they are now, HTS has become the moderate opposition and the moderate opposition have become the terrorists [they always were in my eyes], Assad can see it, and I can see it, the independent world media can see it, but sadly Russia, Iran, and Turkey can’t see it, and neither can any of their die hard supporters who are barracking for their teams.
“hatred blinds you to the truth”, another good old saying.

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