Guardians of Religion reject proposal to give FSA power to manage military affairs in Northern Syria

Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Amena Riyad | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 31, 2019, 1:12:36 PM wire MILITARY Al-Qaeda

Idlib - SMART

The Guardians of Religion Organization of the al-Qaeda rejected a Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) proposal to form a military council led by a Free Syrian Army (FSA) officer to be the military decision maker in areas outside Syrian government forces control.

The Guardians of Religion faction was formed at the end of February 2018. Its members and commanders were part of the Fateh al-Sham Front (currently  the HTS, and formerly the al-Nusra Front). It is now belonging to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, and works in the western countryside of Hama, the northern countryside of Latakia and the southern countryside of Idlib, led by Abu Hammam al-Shami.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Guardians of Religion reported that the HTS offer included a proposal to form a military council led by an FSA officer of dissidents from the Syrian government forces. The officer is likely to be from the Sham Corps and have the decision of peace and war in areas outside Syrian government control.

According to the statement, the HTS offer also includes the opening of the international road from Southern to Northern Syria, which links areas controlled by the Syrian government with others controlled by the FSA.

The Guardians of Religion denounced the offer, saying that they were surprised by the proposal based on what they think about the HTS' attitudes, and the negative consequences it will bring at this time.

The Guardians of Religion said, “Accordingly, we demand the HTS to hand over our weapons after its commander, the dissident Abu Muhammad al-Julani (...) We previously disputed the issues of weapons and rights, and these have not been resolved yet.”

A few days ago, an FSA commander said that he does not rule out that the HTS will join the FSA to preserve its interests, after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The talks stressed the need to fight terrorist organizations, in reference to the HTS.

The HTS imposed its military and administrative control on areas in the governorates of Idlib, western Aleppo and northern Hama, after clashes with the FSA. The clashes killed and injured dozens of fighters and civilians.

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Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Amena Riyad | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 31, 2019, 1:12:36 PM wire MILITARY Al-Qaeda
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