US special envoy to Syria, Michael Rantley, issued an official statement clarifying the US position on recent developments in Idlib where Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) capture a major part of the province last month. In the statement, Rantley blamed “Golani and his gang” for bad consequences that Idlib will face.
Rantley stressed that the United States see HTS’ attacks against other militant groups in Idlib as proof that HTS ha not abandoned the ideology of al-Qaeda and that changing the name of the organization hasn’t changed its essence.
The statement also confirmed that HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) always remain a target for the United States, and anyone who joins HTS becomes a part of the Al-Qaeda network in Syria.
The statement also stressed that the United States sees the so-called civil administration, which HTS founded in Idlib, as a mask that HTS plans to use to hide behind.
The statement added that the United States will not work with any entity that includes HTS. The statement also stressed that the United States would consider this entity a part of the terrorist organization.
Rantley added that the United States undertands that some parties have joined HTS “for tactical reasons” and not for ideological reasons. However, the statement called on all parties in Idlib to stay away from HTS.
According to the statement, the United States would continue its efforts to deliver aid to Syrians without reaching the hands of HTS or passing through the crossings that it has captured.
At the end of the statement, Rantley warned that if HTS takes full control over Idlib province, the United States would not be able to persuade other parties not to take military action in Idlib.
The US statement reflects the current situation in Idlib, where HTS is the most powerful faction and controls the so-called “civil administration” that manages Idlib city and Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Rumors are circulating that Turkey and Russia may be planning to coordinate efforts in order to counter the HTS influence in Idlib, and it seems that the United States is also interested in resolving the HTS issue in some way.
US UAVs over Idlib:
— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) 1 August 2017