Turkey’s relations with the factions fighting in Syria have experienced unending ups and downs all through the years of the Syrian war.
Relations between Turkey and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Tahrir al-Sham are no exception.
Tahrir al-Sham controls most of the northern Syrian province of Idlib on the border between Turkey and Syria.
In recent years, Ankara has been encouraging this group to reintroduce itself to the world, but this time as a civilian group that has nothing to do with militancy or jihad (holy fighting).
Tahrir al-Sham has been trying to introduce itself as a civilian group since 2018. It held a conference on the economy and another on agriculture in Idlib. The group also formed a government and appointed a spokesman who appears wearing a suit and a necktie and conducts interviews with different media. The spokesman is called Youssef al-Hajiri.
Tahrir al-Sham is apparently following in the footsteps of the Taliban which is part of negotiations with the United States now. Tahrir al-Sham views the Taliban as a victorious group that has forced its enemy to sit on the negotiating table with it.
However, this view angered some of the commanders of Tahrir al-Sham who defected from the group. The group also got rid of other commanders who opposed its overtures to the Taliban.
Tahrir al-Sham is also trying to contain its younger members who travelled from other countries to join it at the peak of its strength. It does this by reorienting these members to its new policy course.
Observers have always viewed Tahrir al-Sham as Syria’s Taliban that is ready to do anything to fulfill its political dreams on the Syrian stage.