On September 9, Abdullah al-Muhaysini the main religious leader of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced in an official statement that he and other religious leaders of HTS will defect from it if the group does not approve “needed reforms”.
The religious leaders demanded that HTS to respect its religious scholars and to consider their opinion on the group’s actions. Another demand was to improve the Internal Judiciary of HTS and to expand its authority.
The last demand was to form a committee to solve HTS internal problems, and HTS problems with the public and other armed groups. The committee would also solve the problems related to prisoners.
Syrian opposition activists believe that the Muhaysini statement is a result of leaks made by the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement. On September 6, Hussam Atrash one of the religious leaders of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement leaked information on how Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leadership conspired to establish relationship with Iran.
On September 9, HTS denied in an official statement the accusation made by Atrash. However, the reaction from Muhaysini and other religious leaders of HTS confirms that the leaks could be at least partly true.
Muhaysini and another religious leader of HTS Abu al-Harith al-Masri are against the HTS aggression towards other armed Syrian opposition groups in Idlib governorate, according to Syrian opposition sources. These religious scholars allegedly believe that HTS should build good relations with Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
However, HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani, Abd al Rahman Atuan – another religious leader of HTS – and Abu Yusef Halfaya – HTS military commander Hama – are against working with Turkey or accepting any other armed group in Idlib governorate, according to the source.