Ankara has given “former” al-Qaeda commander Manar Al-Shami Turkish citizenship.
As Turkish politicians continue to talk about deporting Syrian refugees back to Syria, former al-Qaeda commander Manar Al-Shami gets Turkish citizenship. pic.twitter.com/3x09Prx8XU
— Lindsey Snell (@LindseySnell) June 26, 2021
Turkey has long supported the al-Qaeda-affiliated so-called “moderate opposition” in Idlib, which mostly comprises Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de facto ruler of the Syrian region.
Rebranding a number Syrian factions as the Syrian National Army (SNA), critics say Turkey has incorporated extreme jihadist groups into the SNA.
Turkey had supported the rebranding of HTS, a group known to have incorporated fighters from the Nusra Front, which had pledged allegiance to al Qaeda.
HTS, whose name in Arabic means “Liberation of the Levant Committee,” was formed in Jan. 2017 by several Islamist factions in Syria, including al Qaeda’s former branch in the country.
“HTS, is a Turkish intelligence (MiT) asset and steadily being proxified by the MiT,” Nicholas Heras, Senior Analyst and Program Head for Authoritarianism at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, tweeted in April.
“HTS is literally the only local Syrian actor that can control Idlib at a low cost for Turkey. Turkey and this Syrian al-Qaeda-linked group have a symbiotic relationship, and HTS is an asset to Ankara,” Heras told Ahval.
It is also interesting to see that the al-Qaeda terrorist Manar Al-Shami also received citizenship from another Turkish ally – Ukraine.
Previously he got citizenship of Ukraine… BTW he had a hair implant :) pic.twitter.com/m2vrN3B2uo
— ali ornek (@ornekali) June 26, 2021
In late May 2021, The British MI6 intelligence agency’s representative Jonathan Powell suggested that leader of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) Abu Mohammad al-Julani should build close cooperation with the West, TASS reported.
“The British side suggested that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group (outlawed in Russia, also known as Jabhat al-Nusra) should announce plans to abandon subversive activities against Western countries and build close cooperation with them,” he said. “Mohammad al-Julani received recommendations to give an interview to an American reporter in order to create a positive image for the alliance that he heads and rehabilitate it in the future. There are plans to engage some of the UK’s allies, primarily the US, in efforts aimed at rebranding the al-Nusra group,” the source, cited by the outlet, added.
According to him, Western intelligence agencies are seeking to directly establish contact with international terrorist groups active in Syria. The meeting between Powell and al-Julani took place in the Idlib de-escalation zone near the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border, the source said. According to him, the meeting was focused on the possibility of removing Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham from the list of terrorist organizations. In addition, an agreement was reached on maintaining a permanent communication link with international terrorists designated as such by the United Nations Security Council.
“We would like to remind those who quickly forget their own bitter experience that there are no good terrorists and all attempts to tame and hand-feed them usually lead to many innocent deaths,” the source emphasized.
As such, it is no surprise that Turkey, a founding member of NATO, is taking part in rebranding terrorists, granting them citizenship and using them as “mercenaries.”
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