Now That Corruption Has Been Brought To Discussion, HTS Attempts To Draw New Image of Itself
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is working to win back the popular incubator in Idlib, after signs of internal split within its ranks have surfaced, starting with information divulged by one of its key commanders, “Abu al-Abd Ashidaa”, on the administrative and financial corruption within HTS and the fatal mistakes committed by the commanders in control of it.
The outbreak of disagreements within HTS provoked some activists on Twitter, who embarked on spreading the “People want their stolen money back/al sha’b yurid malah al masloub” hashtag, talking about the fortune made by the HTS by means of checkpoints and crossings, which to answer HTS opted for providing a new image of itself, acknowledging its mistakes and pledging to make them right.
The HTS released a statement today, Friday, 13 September, talking about the goal of its project, which is to “establish a new phase and correct the previous mistakes related to the independence of the revolutionary decision at all levels – civil, military and political- in addition to creating a mature alternative of the regime’s institutions [consisting of] the revolutionary ones.”
The HTS’ statement stressed that the faction has both succeeded and failed; it, however, does not claim to be infallible.
Under the statement, the HTS formed a Supreme Oversight Committee, noting that this committee has broad powers and is to strengthen the efforts of the High Follow-up Committee while comprising prestigious personalities.
The HTS’ statement coincided with a circular published by the faction on its Telegram channels, in which it expressed concern over “the collapse of the social fabric and military cohesion” through the strategy that Russia is using.
Further, the HTS indicated that for destabilizing the entire liberated areas, Russia and the Assad regime are pursuing a five-point strategy, including the political prevarication adopted in Astana and Sochi to gain international blessing and then splitting the areas and taking control over them gradually.
The third point of the strategy is to break down the factions under reconciliation claims and then remove them out of the areas, which they will hand over to the regime. Moreover, the strategy disrupts the unity of the factions and people through distributing statements and information leaflets and sending security cells to carry out bombings and assassinations, which all seek to destabilize the liberated area, according to the circular.
The HTS considered that it is necessary to deflect the campaign aiming at damaging the social fabric and military cohesion and to be “conscious and aware of every call by those who speak in the name of the revolution, which they did not experience, and those who suffered neither bombing nor displacement.”
In fact, HTS’ last measurement was taken after one of its commanders released a video, addressing the administrative and financial corruption within the faction.
On Tuesday, September 10, Abu al-Abd Ashidaa posted a video titled To Prevent the Ship from Sinking, in which he spoke about the administrative and financial corruption within HTS and the fatal mistakes committed by the commanders in control of it in addition to complying with international agreements and requirements before arresting him today.
The commander’s disclosures coincide with a talk about the possibility of dissolving HTS, as a step to eliminate the charge of “terrorism” invoked by Russia and used as a pretext for the military operations conducted in the area.
The commanders of the HTS are afraid of its disintegration after it failed to bring its components under the unified military command, given the contradictions and withdrawals witnessed in the past months, during the military operations by the Syrian regime forces and Russia, as well as the push and pull operations followed by its leader Abu Mohammed Al Jolani.
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