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More than 400 HTS Cadres Arrested: Does al-Julani Fear a Coup?

Ankara-backed factions express concerns about Julani's increasing control over economic assets and smuggling routes, according to Athr Press.
More than 400 HTS Cadres Arrested: Does al-Julani Fear a Coup?

Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani has significantly escalated his campaign of arresting fellow members and leaders of HTS in the northwestern regions of Syria under his control.

The recent wave of arrests has targeted high-ranking individuals within the group’s security apparatus. They face charges related to allegedly plotting a coup against Julani. In the past three days alone, approximately 50 leaders have been apprehended, including one individual responsible for manufacturing explosives, as reported by opposition media outlets.

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Reports suggest that since the inception of this campaign in early July, around 450 individuals have been detained. Some have been released following mediation efforts, but there are unverified reports circulating about the execution of certain detainees, with ongoing arrests still taking place.

Various factors suggest the likelihood of an attempted coup against Julani. These include his unpredictable stances and frequent abandonment of allies to consolidate his control over territories where his group operates. Julani has also been keen on expanding his sphere of influence into the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Ankara-backed factions express concerns about Julani’s increasing control over economic assets and smuggling routes, which yield significant wealth. There are apprehensions that he may use this wealth to attract new allies who can facilitate his expansion into the Aleppo countryside. These factions fear that Julani might tighten his grip on several key smuggling routes, particularly those bordering the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), potentially making his group the primary player in the northern Syrian fuel market.

These arrests coincide with several notable moves by Julani. One of the latest developments was his visit to the Jabal al-Summaq area, where he held a meeting with prominent Druze figures, expressing his support for Suweida protests. Additionally, Julani has engaged in meetings with US intelligence officials in early August 2023.


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.

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