Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) issued a statement regarding a photo of its leader, Abu Mohammad al-Julani with American journalist, Martin Smith, in Idleb, a few days ago.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, HTS said that the photo that was circulated was taken during Smith’s visit to Idleb, which lasted for three days, without specifying the time of the visit.
HTS added that the visit included a field tour and a press meeting with Julani, during which the latter addressed the most important milestones, transformations, and questions about the current situation and the future.
Julani’s meeting with Smith aimed to “put an end to the isolation” and let the international community in on the reality of things. In its statement, HTS said, “We think that it is our duty to end our isolation and to convey our reality in any legitimate way made available to us, and communicate that to the region and the world, which would benefit our blessed revolution.”
Smith published on his Twitter account a picture of him with Julani and wrote, “I just returned from a three-day visit to Idleb in which I met the founder of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front. We talked about the September 11 attacks, Al-Qaeda, and the US.”
In the photo, Julani appeared wearing modern attire for the first time, instead of his usual military outfit or traditional uniform.
The photo provoked strong reactions on social media. The State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” account commented on the photo in the spoken Syrian dialect, stating, “Hello, handsome Julani. What a great suit! You can change your attire all you want, but you will always remain a terrorist. Send us any information about Julani to receive a reward of up to $10 million dollars, via Telegram, Signal, or WhatsApp: 0012022941037.”
This article was translated and 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.