On November 24, the U.S. Department of State Rewards for Justice Program released a poster calling for information on the whereabouts of Abu Mohamad al-Julani, leader of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
HTS is in control of the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, where Turkey, a close NTO ally of the U.S, maintains a large force.
The State Rewards for Justice Program offered a reward of up to $10 Million for information on al-Julani, who is known to be present in Greater Idlib.
“The U.S. Department of State is looking for information on the higher commander of HTS, the al-Nusra Front formerly, who is responsible for many crimes against Syrians,” the poster reads. “Help locate al-Julani, send your information to the Rewards for Justice Program.”
Al-Julani was added to the Rewards for Justice Program in 2017. The commander is designated by the Department of State as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and is also listed at the UN Security Council ISIS and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee,
Under al-Julani’s leadership, HTS carried out several crimes against the Syrian people not only in areas that are under government control, but also in the areas held by the opposition.
“ANF [the al-Nusra Front] has carried out multiple terrorist attacks throughout Syria, often targeting civilians. In April 2015, ANF reportedly kidnapped, and later released, approximately 300 Kurdish civilians from a checkpoint in Syria. In June 2015, ANF claimed responsibility for the massacre of 20 residents in the Druze village Qalb Lawzeh in Idlib province, Syria,” the Rewards for Justice Program website says.
In the last two years, a series of U.S. strikes targeted prominent jihadists in Greater Idlib. However, none of them were affiliated with HTS. In fact, many were opponents of the group and personal enemies of al-Julani.
The lack of U.S. actions against HTS, which is strengthening its grip on Greater Idlib, is questionable. The Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces seem to be the only side taking action against the terrorist group.
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