09/16/2017, 11.17
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The Islamist front in Syria crumbles: psychosis of a defeat at Idleb

by Pierre Balanian

Two Saudi preachers from the Islamic tribunal have resigned. The Ahrar el Sham group withdrew last July. The Damascus Liberation Organization is just another name for al Qaeda. Retaliatory clashes increase, suspicions grow. Contacts with Russians and Iranians in an attempt to save themselves from an imminent attack by the Syrian army.

Idleb (AsiaNews) - The Damascus Liberation Organization (Haiya'at Tahrir Al Sham), which gathers many Islamist groups fighting Syria's Assad under its umbrella, is crumbling. In July there was the withdrawal of the Ahrar el Sham group (the Liberators of Damascus), among the first to fight in the civil war. On September 11, there was the resignation of the Saudi preachers and judges of the Islamic Sharia,  Abdallah Al Muhaissni and Mosleh Al Ilyani, which has triggered a domino effect, feeding the  hypothesis that it is the beginning of the organisms’ dissolution.

Haiya'at Tahrir Al Sham was set up on January 28 this year, and comprises  a myriad of militia opponents of the Syrian government at Idleb. For the most part it is made up of non-Syrian people, united by Islamic terrorism, called "holy war" against all those who distance themselves from Takfiri  integralism.

Over the past few months, the dissension between Koranic lawmakers and combatants has grown resulting in numerous mutual criticism and disagreements about how to conduct military operations against the movement of Ahrar el Sham and the use of weapons – rather than convictions -  to impose unity within the group on other factions and secure a "revolutionary legitimacy" for Abi Mohamed Al Golani, leader of Al Nusra, and his followers.

In fact, the cause of the turmoil, disagreement and the refusal of all factions to remain united under a single flag is the Al Nusra Front, the biggest and most dominant component in the group, which has been classified as a terrorist organization. The turmoil has sharpened with growing rumors - backed by intelligence reports - of an imminent Syrian Army attack on Idleb as soon as Operation Deir Ez Zor ends. The attack should take place with a Russian-Turkish-Iranian cover.

The resignations of Abdallah Al Muhaissni and Mosleh Al Ilyani have opened the door to discussions between the supporters and opponents of the Ahrar of Damascus, led by Abi Saleh Al Tahan, who has cut all ties with the Nur Eddin Al Zenki Movement out of fear of becoming embroiled in the imminent attack of the Syrian army at Idleb.

Whatever the reason for the split within Ahrar Al Sham, its withdrawal reveals that the Damascus Liberation Organs is just another cover name, another alias of Al Nahra, formerly Al Qaeda. In the latter body there are no members of Al Nusra. Meanwhile, the Damascus Ahrar army has called for Idleb Sharia'a Tribunal to return the weapons and ammunition in their possession before the union, delivered 9 months ago to the unit's weapons depot.

Armed clashes between the Ahrar and the Organization have also intensified in the last few weeks, with battles in the desert areas of Ikarda, Maarat Al Naasan and Fua in the Idleb hinterland, which only ended after lengthy mediatios. Ahrar's chief of staff, Hashem El Sheikh, had threatened to resign from the body if attacks against the Damascus Ahrar Movement were continued. So far no resignations have taken place.

Exiles of the Ahrar Movement have circulated rumors that talk about the submission of Hashem El Sheikh to Al-Golani and that the latter has strongly criticized Turkey, their most direct ally, proposing a rapprochement with Iran before it is too late. These rumors pushed Hashem El Sheikh to open a profile on Instagram to voice his point. Al Golani did not deny that he had opened contact channels with Iran, but justified his doing so to free members of the Organization being held prisoner by Iran.

Meanwhile, Koranic legislator Ayman Harosh, close to the Ahrar of Damascus, revealed that Al Nusra has held secret encounters for more than two days with Russian personalities. These meetings are held in the house of Ahmad Al Darwish in the village of Abu Dali in the northeast hinterland of Hama. A statement issued by Ahrar of Damascus has denied the news, despite it containing names and details. But suspicions abound and apparently, everyone is worrying about the uncertain future and how to save their own skin. Since no one trusts anyone anymore, it can be assumed that the wave of defections will grow in the coming days.

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