HTS Justifies Arrest Of Its Affiliated Media Activist
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) justified the arrest of the media activist Ahmad Rahal known for being close to it after he posted a video in which “Abu al-Abd Ashidaa” appeared criticizing the faction last Tuesday.
HTS’s Ebaa Network quoted the spokesman of HTS-security apparatus, Obaida al- Saleh, today, Friday, 13 September as saying, “Rahal’s detention on remand comes after receiving information of his involvement with some figures in an attempt to raise concerns and abet sedition.”
He added, “we have received information from multiple sources and figures with whom Rahal spoke confirming his involvement.”
The HTS arrested the activist Ahmad Rahal from his home in Idlib last Wednesday after publishing a video criticizing it, in which the prominent commander Abu al-Abd Ashidaa appeared accusing HTS of financial and administrative corruption related to fighters and the military unit.”
Enab Baladi’s correspondent for Idlib countryside reported that Rahal, from the town of Muhambal, is considered one of HTS’ close media activists, and he was responsible for “Jahid bimalik/Strive your wealth in the path of God,” launched in Idlib and rural Hama.
The spokesman stated that “by arresting and interrogating [Rahal], some allegations were confirmed,” noting that he will soon reveal some of the talks and ‘conspiracies’ that the team weaved and arranged in an attempt to “splitting the unity of Mujahideen through spreading some false accusations.”
In addition, the spokesman explained that Rahal was not arrested for being a media activist as claimed by some, emphasizing that “being a media figure does not mean to impugn, insult and curse here and there, ignoring everything going on around oneself and all the efforts made, justifying the attitude by working in the media field and having the freedom of opinion and reporting news.”
“We will not tolerate anyone tampering or trading with the liberated area’s [affairs], ignoring the blood that has been shed in vain under any condition, whether he belongs to the mujahideen or is working in whatever field,” he added.
The prominent HTS commander, known as “Abu al-Abd Ashidaa” appeared, last Tuesday, in a video posted on the YouTube channel of the media activist Ahmad Rahal.
In the video which he titled as To Prevent the Ship from Sinking, the commander spoke of administrative and financial corruption within HTS and the fatal mistakes committed by the commanders in control of it.
The video and the criticism it contained referring to HTS have been posted at a critical time in the province of Idlib, amid anticipation of what might happen in the next period, whether the resumption of the military operation by the Syrian regime forces or the conclusion of another comprehensive ceasefire agreement.
A few hours into posting the video, a decision was made by the HTS to dismiss Abu al-Abd Ashidaa, describing the video’s content as “deception, slander and speech that serves none but the enemies of the nation and an invitation to dividing the mujahideen.”
Yesterday, September 12, HTS made a statement, saying that Abu al-Abd Ashidaa was arrested for refusing to show up before the Military Court that sought to consider his status. Moreover, in the statement, published on Telegram accounts known for being close to HTS, the faction pointed out that it will not allow any attempt at split nor fueling strife within its ranks, given the situation it described as the enemy’s bid to penetrate right through its lines.
Abu al-Abd Ashidaa is one of HTS’ prominent commanders, which he joined after defecting from Ahrar al-Sham in late 2016, along with more than 100 fighters of his battalion, Mujahideen Ashidaa/Sturdy Jihadist, who mainly come from Aleppo province. Having joined HTS, Abu al-Abd Ashidaa took command of the military bloc of Aleppo city. Then, he became the administrative commander of Umar ibn al-Khattab Army, consisting of HTS’ special forces.
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