The factions that refused to unite when the Muslims in the besieged city of Aleppo were massacred and the regime was rapidly occupying the liberated territories. These factions that refused to unite in the besieged territories throughout Syria despite the dire need for unity. These factions that refused to unite because their foreign sponsors did not give them the green light except when their unity benefits the counter revolutionary agenda of the plotting regional and international powers. These factions that refused to unite under the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) but were willing to unite under the secular National Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government to sabotage the civilian administration’s initiative of Hay’at Tahrir Shaam. Do not expect anything good from them!
They have sold the revolution and became a tool for the counter revolution conspiracy executed by their foreign sponsors. Their greed for power and authority has blinded them from the suffering of the Syrian people and the principals of the revolution. They did not unite for the tens of thousands of prisoners in Syria, they did not unite for the millions of refugees, they did not unite for the millions of martyred and wounded, yet they were willing to unite when their unity was used as a tool to sabotage the civilian administration’s initiative that will give the people power over their own affairs and strip these power hungry factions of their abusive authority and mismanagement of the liberated territories.
The Turkish sponsored formation of a national army under the secular National Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government is not the first formation of predominantly corrupt factions which aims to sabotage any realistic progress in the Syrian revolution. Ahraar Shaam sabotaged a merger before with Jabhat Fath Shaam, despite the fact that they broke their ties with Al-Qaedah under Jabhat Nusra, which was the main condition set by Ahraar Shaam for any merger. Ahraar Shaam stepped out of this merger with the weak excuse that they did not want any partial merger, even after the merger with Jabhat Fath Shaam was already signed by all partied including Ahraar Shaam itself. However not long after this they signed the initiative to form a Turkish sponsored merger under the entity “The counsel leadership of the Syrian liberation.” This partial formation on paper had no other goal except to foil the ongoing merger talks between Jabhat Fath Shaam and other factions under the merger now known as Hay’at Tahrir Shaam. Any practical application of this formation was never seen on the ground. Mergers and unity between corrupt factions are used as a political playing card in the hands of foreign powers who want to influence the revolution in their interest. Foiling the civilian administration’s initiative has far reaching consequences as we will later explore, because it is an essential step for a new game changing military stage on the arena.
We do not want to repeat the same mistakes and failed experiences in Syria. We do not want to repeat the mistakes and failed experience of ISIS who declared enmity to the whole world and dragged the Muslims in a destructive war losing everything they gained within months like we have seen throughout Iraq and Syria. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of the Southern Front and the Euphrates Shield who ended up in the ranks of the regime and sacrificed the liberated territories for the interest of their foreign supporters. When the besieged city of Aleppo needed our efforts the most the power hungry factions rushed to secure the borders of Turkey. The fall of Aleppo should be a lesson not to be forgotten!
The power hungry factions that answered the Interim Goverment’s proposal to form a united national army under the secular National Coalition seeking to sabotage the administration’s initiative, as they demand the dissolvement of Hay’at Tahrir Shaam, only occupy 25% of the military positions against the regime in the liberated territories despite the fact that they consist of more than forty factions. While Hay’at Tahrir Shaam occupies 75% of the military positions against the regime in the liberated territories. So their demand that HTS should dissolve itself equals a surrender to the Syrian regime similar to the forced surrender in Aleppo.
However Hay’at Tahrir Shaam understands that the sensitive situation in Idlib demands for a solution with a difficult price which will not be understood by some. When Khidr pierced a fishers boat even our Prophet Musa (Alayhi Selaam) did not understand that this superficial damage was a necessary price the fisherman needed to pay so that his boat would not be confiscated by an oppressive tyrant. As this fixable superficial damage did not render the boat useless. It is expected that the Mujahideen will need to make a similar military and political sacrifice to counter yet another plot after the failed Astana plot and many others before that.
The defeatist and corrupt power hungry factions, including their inciting deviant sorcerers who veil themselves with theological knowledge, keep repeating the threat that Idlib is facing the same fate as Mosul as long as Hay’at Tahrir Shaam is in charge over it. Especially after the corrupt power and influence of Ahraar Shaam was dissolved in Idlib. They use this threat to justify their defeatist and subservient attitude towards the regional and international powers, with the excuse that they are seeking to avoid an international military intervention with such submissiveness. While sabotaging any other step that could prevent such a military intervention that does not include the defeatist and subservient attitude they eagerly show when facing these foreign powers. Like the civil administration initiative for example which they seek to sabotage. As if the only way to prevent such a military intervention is reached by complete surrender and servitude. However, of course no one will throw them a bone if they chose for a civilian administration of the liberated territories. Unlike their whoremongers who promise them the riches of the world in return for their indecent servitude.
They show deceiving concern for the fall of Idlib to any foreign intervention while they have sold the city of Aleppo to the Russian and Iranian intervention for a meagerly price. Therefore their real fear is not any military intervention in Idlib, rather it is the loss of their measly authority and funding they fear. Moreover, they even hope for a military intervention in Idlib against Hay’at Tahrir Shaam, which will further split Syria and pave the way for them as the new puppet rulers in the region. As they gradually shift from revolutionaries to pawns of the foreign counter-revolutionary plots. This has become very clear from the Astana meetings and many other incidents and statements. Why else would they keep accusing Hay’at Tahrir Shaam of being affiliated with Al-Qaedah, while even Jabhat Fath Shaam –which was only one of the factions that dissolved into the merger– broke its ties openly with Al-Qaedah? It is as if they are shouting “Do not be fooled Al-Qaedah is still present in Syria, here they are in Idlib, so hurry come and attack them.” The Mujahideen are trying to neutralize this pretext for any foreign military intervention, paying hefty sacrifices in its difficult course. So if these corrupt factions and their sorcerers really cared about the fate of Idlib they would help the Mujahideen to neutralize this pretext instead of brisking it up for the enemies.
The Mujahideen are continuously taking steps to prevent any foreign intervention, the civilian administration initiative and breaking ties with Al-Qaedah are just two examples. There is a big difference between the one who uses legal strategic and political means in the Sharia to withhold the enemies against the Muslims, and the one who uses forbidden deceiving means to serve and please the enemies and to invite their aggression against the Muslims. The corrupt factions share the same characteristic of ISIS when it comes to inviting foreign interventions. The only difference is that ISIS declared war against the whole world and invited these interventions against themselves and the territories they control while these factions invite interventions against others, which makes them even more despicable.
The defeatist factions are especially hoping for a Turkish intervention in Idlib, proving their lack of strategic and political insight. They did not learn from recent history. At the height of their power ISIS was only sixty kilometres away from reaching Baghdad, but in a strange twist of strategy they diverted their manpower and turned 180 degrees towards Kobani near the Turkish border to fight against the Kurds. Because ISIS realized that they needed Turkey for its logistic and economic importance. By prioritizing their fight against the Kurds near the Turkish borders they succeeded in neutralizing Turkey, safe securing their logistic and economic lifelines. Turkey waited for three years after ISIS established its State in Iraq and Syria until it started its military intervention against ISIS with the Euphrates Shield. The strategic enemies of Turkey are the Kurds at their borders, so Turkey closed its eyes to ISIS for years as long as they kept focusing their military efforts against the Kurds. This only changed when ISIS started carrying out reckless bomb attacks on Turkish soil threatening their tourist-based economy. In addition to their military failure to keep the Kurdish threat at the Turkish border in check, rather the Kurdish threat only grew bigger and stronger.
Turkey is still suffering from various plots after the failed coupe, and it is in dire need for a strong entity in Syria that could keep the Kurdish threat in check. The reckless extremists of ISIS failed against the Kurds, and the defeatist cowardice factions are not reliable as they do not have the heart for war. Nor do they posses any political, strategic or military strength to effectively share the Turkish goal of countering the Kurds, especially considering the fact that the Kurds are supported by the US, whom these factions seek to please. Turkey has gambled on these factions before and they proved to be expensive and unreliable, as considerable elements within the Euphrates Shield still keep defecting to the US supported Kurds. They do not know any loyalty nor principals as they sell their services to the highest bidder, they even sold their revolution and the suffering of their peoples let alone the Turkish interests.
Turkey was particularly gambling on Ahraar Shaam but their extreme military weakness was exposed after their failed confrontation against Hay’at Tahrir Shaam. Ahraar Shaam that bragged about their strength and numbers was dissolved within just three days. Hay’at Tahrir Shaam on the other hand proved that it does posses a strong political, strategically and military capacity that can effectively share the Turkish goal of keeping the Kurds in check in Syria. They enjoy large popular support, they are not reckless extremists, they are stable, balanced and reliable, and on top of that they do not need any expensive funding unlike the corrupt factions. Turkey also does not have to fear any threat from Hay’at Tahrir Shaam as they explained that their fight is primarily against the regime and it showed the willingness of having healthy relationships with neutral local countries, including Turkey, as long as this does not include any servitude. These principals and independence should be seen as positive, as the weakness of others factions stems from their reliance on aid provided by foreign powers, which makes them unreliable and vulnerable to bribes from whomever pays the most.
It is therefore not in the interest of Turkey to attack Idlib and expel Hay’at Tahrir Shaam at this moment as they are the only realistic chance Turkey has in Syria against the Kurdish militias, whether it is military, strategically, politically or economically. Turkey was even willing to gamble on ISIS in Northern Syria against the Kurds despite their recklessness and unreliability, so their increased desperateness will prevent Turkey even more from attacking the more stable and reliable Hay’at Tahrir Shaam. Especially since the Kurdish threat grew considerably larger after the fall of ISIS in Northern and Eastern Syria. So Turkey is forced to consider Hay’at Tahrir Shaam as a strategic ally at the time being. Attacking Hay’at Tahrir Shaam will only benefit the Kurdish militias in the North, and even the East as they are rapidly advancing against ISIS in Raqqah and Deir Zor. Attacking Hay’at Tahrir Shaam would therefore be a major strategic mistake, rather it would be Turkey’s biggest mistake yet in Syria.
The corrupt factions and their sorcerers that keep threatening the people with a possible foreign military intervention in Idlib, as long as Hay’at Tahrir Shaam is in charge over the city, seem to forget that we are already facing multiple foreign interventions in Syria. Not only did the foreign Shia militia intervene from different parts of the world including Iran and Lebanon. But even a superpower the equivalent of the US has intervened in favor of the regime, as Russia strengthened the air supremacy of the regime significantly. However the corrupt factions ignore this intervention and seem to care more about their authority and funding. This brings us to an important subject that will drastically change the near future of the Syrian revolution. Because we have reached a stage in which we can no longer rely on conventional warfare, for a conventional war can not be led by a single faction alone. These conventional campaigns must be coordinated with other factions, whether we like it or not. But the corrupt factions have become increasingly unreliable. Many campaigns have already been sabotaged in the past because of their treachery.
The Mujahid leaders have been thinking for a while about a shift in warfare and politics against the regime that will prevent Northern Syria from the devastating bombardments we have seen over the past few years during the Syrian revolution, in which even schools, nurseries, bakeries and hospitals are bombed with all kinds of incendiary weapons. People can only bare a certain degree of trails and suffering, and the Syrian people have suffered much. Idlib has now become a place of refuge and a safe haven for the exhausted Syrians who have fled from several war-torn parts in Syria. Idlib is becoming overpopulated, especially after the four city agreement, the Qalamoun agreement, and the refugees from Uqayrbat, among other territories. The war in Northern Syria therefore demands for a change of military strategy and politics. This explains the reason for the current state of ceasefire. However this can not keep on for long. The regime and the Kurdish militias are preoccupied with ISIS in Eastern Syria, but not long remains before ISIS completely collapses in the East like it did in the North; causing a further influx of refugees in Idlib, in addition to a possible regime led assault launched against the overcrowded city.
This is one of the reasons for the civilian administration’s initiative. Civilian counsels will control the liberated territories, while the Mujahideen will have more time and energy available to invest in military campaigns which do not endanger the civilians of the liberated territories. This entails a switch from conventional warfare back to guerilla warfare focusing on special operations behind enemy lines that occupy, divert and disperse the military capacities of the regime. Hay’at Tahrir Shaam is therefore investing heavily in training elite forces and storm troopers.
They have carried out dozens of guerilla operations by small elite forces and storm troopers, who are very mobile carrying light military equipment, who can attack and retreat with minimum losses, and they can penetrate deep behind enemy lines. Most notably is the operation in the city center of Homs killing more than forty security officials as two state security offices were attacked by five storm troopers. These operations will be the new norm in Syria, they attract less media attention but are highly effective. Nearly all of the operations carried out by Hay’at Tahrir Shaam have relied on such guerilla tactics, the only conventional war campaign they have announced was in Northern Hamaa, and even this campaign was eventually canceled.
The liberated territories in Syria were largely captured through guerilla war tactics. So we must not think that the current territories are a result of a successful conventional war waged by the rebels. Rather conventional warfare has proven to be futile in Syria, especially since the Russian air support to the Syrian regime and their inhumane scorched earth policy against the Syrian civilians. It was only after they controlled the liberated territories that the Mujahideen were forced to wage a conventional war. This hampered their movements, they became slower and less flexible, territories were difficult to capture and military campaigns became very costly.
Even the capture of war spoils has decreased since we started a conventional war. Instead of capturing tanks as spoils for example they are now destroyed with TOW missiles. So large swathes of territory were liberated when the revolutionaries were waging a guerilla war against the regime, but when the factions grew bigger, more equipped and organized they started shifting towards a conventional warfare of open and direct confrontations. However conventional warfare can not last when air supremacy is in the complete advantage of the enemy. We lost many territories and saw how ISIS could not hold on to their territories no matter how much they tried. We must not repeat the same mistake stubbornly waging a conventional war while holding on to territories, knowing that this is impossible when the enemy posses complete air supremacy. The Mujahideen were very successful when they waged a guerilla war in Iraq, the US tried to drag them into a direct confrontation, and when they failed they decided to retreat. But when ISIS chose to wage a conventional war of direct confrontation they lost everything in Iraq and Syria.
Unlike us the regime armies are forced to wage a conventional war, this is a weakness we can exploit if we launch a guerrilla offensive. When the rebels attacked the regime from different positions throughout Syria in the beginning of the revolution they were successful in their military confrontation. For the regime militias could not focus their military efforts on multiple fronts as they were forced to disperse their bulky power. But the regime is attacked from one isolated position when launching a conventional war campaign, which makes it easier for the regime to send reinforcement and focus their military strength. This is why we see the regime isolate the confrontations today in one certain territory, or against one certain faction, through the use of deceiving cease fires and political agreements that neutralize other territories or factions.
The Mujahideen are therefore gradually shifting towards guerrilla tactics instead of major conventional campaigns. They focus on the weak points of the regime and launch quick surprise attacks and kidnappings behind enemy lines which seek to inflict maximum damage with minimum losses without seeking the control of territory. These special operations are fast and unanticipated; the regime does not get the chance to send any military reinforcements from one position to another in the time needed. Such typical guerrilla war tactics bleed the regime on multiple fronts. In the near future we will definitely see an increase of precise, quick and surprising special operations that focus on weak spots of the regime behind enemy lines.
We have seen several evolutions in the Syrian revolution and this will probably be the next evolution that will change the game on the military arena. Several parties are trying to sabotage this evolution because for it to succeed it relies heavily on the civilian administration’s initiative. Because you can not wage a guerilla war if you are bound by the responsibility of controlling liberated territories. This is why the corrupting powers seek to keep the current situation as is, for if Hay’at Tahrir Shaam focuses less on controlling the liberated territories while focusing more on its military campaigns this will also ease the current tensions and defaming campaigns against the still struggling merger.