Infamous Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini has moved from the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, which is ruled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), to neighboring Turkey, several Syrian opposition sources revealed on May 22.
Al-Muhaysini arrived in Syria 2013 to support efforts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The cleric quickly aligned himself with jihadist groups, including the al-Nusra Front, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ahrar al-Sham Movement and even ISIS.
In early 2014, al-Muhaysini served as a mediator between ISIS and its rival jihadist groups, al-Nusra and Ahrar al Sham. He tried to effect a truce between groups, which was eventually rejected by ISIS.
The infamous cleric supported efforts to rebrand al-Nusra as HTS in 2017. He became a senior leader of the group before leaving later in the same year to work again as an independent cleric and judge in Greater Idlib.
According to Syrian opposition sources, a personal conflict between al-Muhaysini and HTS leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani emerged in recent months, as the last stepped up attempts to distance his group from al-Qaeda in order to appease the West.
Fearing assassination by HTS, the Saudi cleric moved his residency a few weeks ago from Greater Idlib to neighboring Turkey.
The cleric is only visiting Greater Idlib from time to time to attend to the activities of his “Advocates of Jihad” center, the source said, adding that he was last seen in the region at Shoaib mosque in Idlib city last April.
Al-Julani has been making efforts to soften the ideology of HTS in the hopes of securing support from the West and removing his name from the United States wanted list. In a recent meeting with the leader of the group, the prominent terrorist criticized key principles in al-Qaeda’s ideology and called for moderation in religion. The remarks were quickly picked up by France 24, the Associated Press and other Western mainstream outlets.
Al-Muhaysini’s decision to leave Greater Idlib also came amid a rapprochement between his home country Saudi Arabia and Syria. President al-Assad attended the recent Arab League summit in Jeddah, where met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Overall, the situation in Greater Idlib remains far from stable. The struggle between radicals in the region is still ongoing. Turkey, who maintains a fairly large military presence in the region, is yet to take action to enforce a ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Russia three years ago. Meanwhile, Damascus insists that only a Turkish withdrawal could guarantee security there and open the way to restore relations with Ankara.
bastard muzlim piece of shit. iran will kill him sooner or later
wahhabi you mean. i don’t know if iran will destroy him or if they use him against saudi arabia.
there’s a slim chance that he isn’t even muslim.
this is the terrorist that wanted to use 12 year olds as suicide bombers. arrest him before he destroys more young people and their families.
he will have a shave and be back in langley for re-assignment in no time. syria as an american victory isn’t going to happen. maybe he has gone to welcome the new recruits from ukraine?
er verzieht sich, weil sein könig sich mit al- assad befreundet hat. befehl aus saudi arabien kam.
this saudi cleric should be liberating bakhmut in ukraine. why is he now in syria?