The commander-in-chief of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – which has military influence in Idleb– Abu Muhammad al-Julani, considered the talks between the Syrian regime and its Russian ally and the Turkish side “a dangerous deviation that affects the goals of the Syrian revolution.”
Julani rejected reconciliation, vowing to overthrow the regime and build Damascus again. He told the regime, “Do not rejoice in what is happening, as the past is more than what is left, and your hour is approaching.” This came during a video recording entitled “We will not reconcile,” published by the Amjad media institution on Monday.
Julani wondered what action would reward the Syrian regime, which has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, demolished Syrian towns and cities, used chemical weapons, spread drugs, and turned Syria into a “destructive and dilapidated quagmire.”
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The HTS commander stated that the battle is not a political battle in which people dispute positions and is not a civil war within the same house but a battle between “right and wrong.”
Julani addressed those he described as “the people and the honourable sons of the revolution” and asked them not to be sad. He pointed out that there are “sons of the revolution, its leaders and soldiers” to protect it and serve its people.
He called on every “devout saviour” to exert effort and sincerely seek to help HTS in the face of these challenges and continue the covenant until the fall of the regime.
On the impact of rapprochement
This speech comes after the acceleration of talk about a rapprochement between Turkey and the Syrian regime, following a tripartite meeting that brought together the Turkish, Russian and Syrian defence ministers in the Russian capital, Moscow, and talk of a meeting at the level of foreign ministers.
On December 31st, 2022, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the upcoming meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad might take place in the second half of January.
On the 28th of December, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the holding of a tripartite meeting between the Turkish, Russian and Syrian defence ministers in the Russian capital, Moscow.
According to the statement, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas, along with the heads of Russian and Syrian intelligence services.
The ministry’s statement said that as a result of the meeting, which took place in a “constructive atmosphere”, it was agreed to continue tripartite meetings to ensure and maintain stability in Syria and the region as a whole.
“I can say that it was a useful meeting,” the Turkish foreign minister said. He added that communication with the Syrian regime is important to achieve lasting peace and stability on the one hand and to achieve the safe return of refugees to Syria on the other.
Cavusoglu believes that in the matter of rapprochement with the Syrian regime, there are many countries that support the process of engagement with it. There are those who oppose it, there are those who are cautious, and there are also those who want relations to turn into a concrete step.
The cities and towns of northwestern Syria witnessed widespread demonstrations to condemn Turkish statements about rapprochement with the Syrian regime, and to emphasize the continuation of the Syrian revolution under the title “We would die and not reconcile with Assad.”
A few days ago, the military leader of HTS, Maysar bin Ali al-Jubouri (Harari), known as “Abu Maria al-Qahtani”, and the leader Jihad Issa al-Sheikh, known as “Abu Ahmed Zakour,” called for abandoning “psychological and partisan differences and uniting efforts to confront the Syrian regime.”
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.