British magazine: Tahrir al-Sham, new model of Daesh in smarter way before Turks

Foreign press reports said that al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhet Nusra) was quietly strengthening its authority in Idlib and in the front of the Turks' eyes, where it seeks to be a new Daesh, but in a more intelligent way as it put its global ambitions aside, which led to the absence of its atrocities from the global media, and what helped it was the agreement between Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The British magazine of The Week said that a Syrian branch of al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhet al-Nusra) is strengthening its authority quietly and in the front of the Turks' eyes in northwestern Syria in the Syrian city of Idlib which is home for more than 3 million persons.

Heyet Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhet al-Nusra) which was called "the most intelligent extremist state" has quietly seized extensive areas of the Syrian lands in contrast to what has happened to Daesh collapsed caliphate in the east of the Euphrates.

The editor of the British magazine Richard Hall who published an analytical article of what is happening in Idlib now said, "Hayet Tahrir al-Sham, like Daesh, wants to establish an extremist entity of its own, but it wants to expand quickly and attract the maximum attention possible. Hayet Tahrir al-Sham played a long game. It was effective, and worked with other groups when it had an interest, but it was also opportunistic and crushed its competitors that do not differ in the background of faith."

In the opinion of the magazine, the so-called Hayet Tahrir al-Sham has set aside its global ambitions to focus on the success locally, and this was the point of strength as the horrors did not occupy the headlines in newspapers, stations and global news outlets, as happened with her former terrorist partner.

According to the magazine, Idlib, located on the Turkish border in northwestern Syria, is the last major stronghold of the mercenaries supported by Ankara in Syria.

The magazine said that the forced and voluntary displacement from other areas restored by the government as a result of Russian-Turkish agreements has inflated the province's population from one to three million people.

The magazine added that the beneficiary of the cease-fire imposed by an agreement between Moscow and Ankara was Hayet Tahrir al-Sham which was able through this truce to control Idlib province calmly. It imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law - the hallmark of extremist terrorist control - and the imposition of taxes on aid convoys according to reports by the US Bloomberg agency.

The magazine quoted from Bloomberg saying: "In contrast, Hayet Tahrir al-Sham did not demand to establish a state, but the latter has more than 10,000 fighters and may be able to recruit more groups."

The group hosts a large number of foreign fighters, including Arabs, Turks, Chechens, Uzbeks and Muslims from China's Xinjiang Uygur.

"The mercenaries of Hayet Tahrir al-Sham are partnered with Daesh by establishing an entity based on strict interpretation of Islam, and we all have a smarter way of doing that," said Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the new US Security Research Center.

While al-Qaeda in Idlib receives little international coverage, the slow assumption of former lands of Daesh by a new extremist group has raised a growing international concern.

Last month, the Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nibenzia warned the United Nations Security Council that Hayet Tahrir al-Sham now controls about 90% of Idlib province.

According to the Russian news agency Tass, more than 460 such incidents have been recorded since the beginning of 2019, that resulted in killing more than 30 people.

"Al Qaeda in Idlib is still a ticking bomb that is undoubtedly a long-term threat to the region and Syria's stability more than Daesh," Manish Rai told South Korea's International Policy Digest.

"Now, after one of the stages of the war has been over, another phase should begin with the sole focus on ending Hayet Tahrir al-Sham even if the United States and its allies have to coordinate with the international parties," he said.

But as the international attention shifted from Syria in the wake of a defeat announced by Daesh, and the United States, which indicated its willingness to withdraw from Syria, it seems that there public pressure or little political will for another Western military intervention in the region.



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