Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is the largest military force controlling the Idleb governorate, parts of Aleppo’s western countryside and of Lattakia, and the al-Ghab Plain to the northwest of Hama.
In a quest to dominate and extend its influence, HTS dismantled other factions and attracted new fighters and elements to its ranks after subjecting them to special military training and sharia teachings away from forced conscription.
HTS’ recruitment campaigns list admission conditions to raise its fighters’ combat capabilities and strengthen its ranks.
HTS managed to establish its military domination after clashing with other factions starting from 2014 following a clash between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra Front at the time), the Syria Revolutionaries Front, and some factions of the former Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The infighting among armed rebel groups led to dissolving several military formations incorporated in the FSA. HTS arrested a large number of these factions’ fighters and seized their weapons, while clashes continued until HTS succeeded in extending its influence over the entire region to become the most dominant and powerful military body.
HTS did not only disband opposition factions or incorporate them into its ranks but also initiated military training and recruitment campaigns that enlisted new fighters.
HTS’ military wing and recruitment department increased their enrollment campaigns and military training during December 2021 under various designations and specialties.
The spokesperson of HTS’ recruitment department, Anas al-Shami, told Enab Baladi that military training provided to those participating in recruitment campaigns is similar to the comprehensive training of infantry units, including physical fitness exercises, weapons training, and military science training.
Military courses to level up fighters’ capabilities
HTS’ military training includes level-up courses and field commanders and special forces development courses.
Al-Shami said that the level-up courses are periodic military courses for fighters who undergo a well-planned training system because fighters must maintain their military capabilities and physical fitness and add some military information to their scientific attainment on an ongoing basis.
The field commanders’ courses are designed for fighters trained to command battles on the ground. In such courses, combatants receive military information and education on how to direct soldiers and weapons efficiently against the enemy in battlefields, al-Shami added.
Several conditions must also be met by the new elements to be accepted.
Al-Shami mentioned that the conditions include physical fitness and the absence of any disability preventing applicants from undergoing military exercises.
Another requirement is for applicants to be between the age of 18 and 35 to be able to carry weapons and conduct training.
The duration of these courses is defined as follows: 30 days for enrollment courses, in which recruits receive sharia and Islamic jurisprudence education.
Then, a 30-day military course, where recruits receive basic military training and education.
After that, the recruits are distributed among brigades, where they take up military tasks and continue to develop their capabilities depending on the courses available.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.