Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #jfs

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This thread by @hxhassan is worth a read -- #HTS's violent response to #AlQaeda affiliate Huras Al-Din's overreach will have significant consequences.

A few additional notes of my own, to follow:

- This is all entirely consistent with #HTS/#JFS/#Nusra policy since ~2014.
@hxhassan My understanding of events leading up to the all-out fight differs somewhat -- #HTS's arrest of Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki
& Abu Malik al-Talli were *very* inflammatory to HaD. Both were crucial sources of finance & external networks. Plus, they came amid several escalatory accusations:
@hxhassan 1. After Abu Saloh's arrest, rumor swirled that #Turkey's MIT had transferred messages from #Moscow to #HTS, requesting his extradition via #Ankara in exchange for political & economic rewards.

Abu Saloh is accused of coordinating multiple attacks in #Russia in recent yrs.
Read 14 tweets
The intra-jihadi dynamic in #Idlib is rapidly intensifying, as #HTS is seeking to re-assert itself vis-a-vis (1) the opposition, (2) local civil society, (3) #Turkey & (4) increasingly exasperated #AlQaeda-leaning factions.

In doing so, it's revealing its multiple identities.
In recent weeks, we've seen escalatory events:

1. Khaled al-Aruri's death in a US drone strike

2. Formation of the #AlQaeda-leaning 'Stand Firm' ops room

3. #HTS arrest of:
- Sirajideen Makhtarov (Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki)
- Jamal Hassan Zayniya (Abu Malik al-Talli)
- Tauqir Sharif
Weeks ago, #HTS was attempting to [re-]build bridges with #Idlib civil society & now it's cracking down on divisive #AlQaeda loyalists & defecting critics.

Hard not to see the drivers involved here:

- Protect internal unity & regional primacy
- Undermine #AQ
- Message #Turkey
Read 33 tweets
Never has the self-suicide of #Syria's mainstream opposition been more clear than in recent days.

#Afrin was really bad, but this NE incursion (its manner; its consequences etc.) is truly beyond the pale -- in truth, what we've witnessed is a #Turkish campaign through-&-through.
It's clear now that the Dec 2016 loss of #Aleppo - in large part due to #Turkey selling it out to #Russia - was *the* turning point.

Opposition factions lost any sense of autonomy of action & over the years that followed, everyone but #JFS-#HTS & #AlQaeda existed *for* #Ankara.
An #American presence in NE #Syria kept at least some of this #Turkish ambition under wraps (just ), but #Trump's naive (or malicious?) "green light" decision after speaking with #Erdogan let everything loose.

Only now are we seeing the consequences -- and they're not yet clear.
Read 15 tweets
Amid the ongoing conflict in NW #Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (#HTS) continues to evolve in intriguing ways - into a more politically mature & intelligent jihadist movement.

It's current leadership clearly seeks to position itself somewhere between #MuslimBrotherhood & #AlQaeda.
There's now little question that #HTS no longer represents #AlQaeda.

It's clearly still an extremist movement, but signs continue to add up indicating that it's developing into something qualitatively different than the Jabhat al-Nusra of 2014-15 - a "Shami #Taliban," perhaps.
Most recently in the public space, #HTS issued a statement acknowledging its willingness to abide by an externally-negotiated (by #Turkey, #Iran & #Russia) ceasefire.

That was a first.

Its never happened before in #Syria & it's not a move any #AlQaeda affiliate would ever take.
Read 15 tweets
#Syria: for over two years the people of Maarat al-Numan have protested continuously against Jabhat al-Nusra (& synonyms #JFS, #HTS).

Now the city together with the whole Jabal al-Zawiya region of #Idlib are freed of jihadists, thanks to local #FSA & #JTS
#Syria: as #JTS and #FSA forces are also advancing around Atarib (W #Aleppo) and Maarrat al-Misrin #HTS is at risk of being split into two separate pockets. One east of the M5 highway and the other in the region between #Idlib city and the #Turkey border
#Syria: meanwhile #HTS is trying to counter the rebel offensive throughout "greater" #Idlib by attacking the town of Batabo, located just west of Atarib
Read 6 tweets
NEW - #Ahrar al-Sham & Nour al-Din al-Zinki have merged, creating Jabhat Tahrir Souriya, branded with “green” revolutionary flag.

- Ahrar leader Hassan Soufan = leader
- #Zinki leader Tawfiq Shahbuddin = deputy

“JTS” calls on other groups to join for greater unity.
#pt: What does “JTS’s” formation mean?

- Unlikely to be a full merger, but closer Ahrar-Zinki coordinating ties have been clear for months.

- Northern #Syria’s two biggest non-#HTS factions are compiling (with Syrian Islamic Council backing) pressure on #Jolani & HTS.
I’m told that x4 sub-factions of #HTS have agreed to join the newly formed Jabhat Tahrir Souriya (#JTS) and at least x5 others are negotiating possible terms.

#Syria #Idlib
Read 67 tweets
Amusing & sad seeing some analysts continue to naively read shady & complex developments through a strictly black/white lens - as if things in the world of jihadism occur along slick, clean lines.

It only shows your analytical immaturity.

Look deeper. #Syria
Jabhat al-Nusra (pre-#JFS) was a movement of several ‘wings.’

When Nusra leader #Jolani was presented w. an ultimatum in mid-July 2016 (break from AQ or face 30%+ defection), there then began a furious debate throughout #Nusra’s command structure about the group’s future.

1/10
Within #Nusra’s Shura Council, the subject of moving away from AQ was almost 50:50 - with several of the group’s most senior leaders insisting *no.*

As the debate bled down through Nusra’s regional commands, differing proposals gained weight - like 'Chinese Whispers.'

2/10
Read 12 tweets

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