The leader of Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Abu Muhammad al-Julani, appeared in British and American media renewing his refusal to admit the humanitarian aid convoy that Damascus prepared to relieve those affected by the earthquake in areas outside its control.
Al-Julani stressed, in statements to the British newspaper The Guardian and the American channel Fox News, his insistence on “refusing to admit any aid across the frontlines from Damascus to Idleb. Julani called for replacing the Assad government’s aid with cross-border aid from Turkey.”
The HTS leader indicated that he “sent several letters to the international organization regarding the need to admit aid to the areas under his control worth $10 million dollars.”
It is noteworthy that this amount is the same as what Washington previously pledged for Julani’s arrest. In May 2017, the US State Department announced “the allocation of ten million dollars to those who provide information that allows locating Muhammad Al-Julani.” This was the first time that the State Department posted a reward for information leading to Julani’s whereabouts.
Julani’s statements are consistent with the American proposal that Washington has adhered to since the moment that the earthquake struck Syria: to limit the entry of aid to areas under the control of armed factions through frontlines from Turkey. On this subject, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar claims: “While the United States finds itself, now, forced to remain silent about the rebel movements — including Saudi Arabia’s dispatch of relief planes to areas controlled by the Syrian government, as a result of the global campaign in the face of sanctions against Syria — it finds no escape from fighting battles on other fronts, including at the UN Security Council.”
The newspaper added: “Washington tried to pass a resolution holding Damascus responsible for the worsening humanitarian tragedy in northern Syria before Damascus thwarted this plan by announcing its agreement to open two additional crossings to pass United Nations aid to the afflicted there.” The newspaper considered that “Washington and its allies do not hesitate to match the efforts of former al-Qaeda man Julani — who appears on their terrorist lists — in amplifying the disaster, by providing Julani with media platforms to polish his image.”
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.