Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an armed faction operating in northern Syria, led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani, dreams of political domination over the areas under its influence and of emerging in a new image instead of the stereotyped one, as it is one of the factions belonging to al-Qaeda.
The movement began to change its behavior in the desire to one day reach power in Syria, after the dreams of its leader, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, exceeded the movement’s current sphere of influence in northern Syria, as he began flirting with the world in the guise of a politician who abandoned his jihadist approach and presented his group in the form of a political party that accepts diversity and pluralism. HTS began to deal with this formula also with its colleagues from other armed factions, which sparked a wave of anger, including from a new faction that calls itself the Revolution Shield Brigades.
Revolution Shield Brigades
A video recording of a group of six people spread through the media platforms of the armed factions in Syria, announcing the formation of a new armed faction in Syria called the Revolution Shield Brigades, consisting of a group of armed men in Idlib Governorate, northern Syria.
“We swear by God Almighty that we will return Idlib to the bosom of the Syrian revolution after it was stolen by those of unknown origin,” the group said in a statement.
These militants confirmed that the reason for the formation of the Revolution Shield Brigades is to “defend honor and secure peaceful demonstrations to protect the free” in the areas under the influence of HTS.
The militants issued a strongly worded speech against HTS, which they gave three days to release all detainees and free women, headed by notables and dignitaries of the regions.
They also threatened HTS that if their demands were not implemented, all its interests would be a legitimate target for the new formation, including all its affiliates.
The recording also appealed to those who were called Murabitun to disavow HTS, and that they had no excuse after HTS assaulted those it called free women. The recording accused HTS of implementing an agenda serving the Syrian regime after it turned against the Syrian revolution that began 12 years ago and has not yet achieved any of its objectives.
Escalation against the movement
The areas under HTS influence are witnessing successive demonstrations against the group, the latest of which was the arrest of a large number of members of the Islamic Liberation Party, which is one of the parties that does not recognize the borders of Islamic countries and raises the slogan of the Islamic caliphate.
The armed factions accuse HTS of betraying the revolution, practicing repression, and silencing mouths against other factions of the revolution’s partners.
Dream of Taliban model
Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed, an expert in Asian affairs and Islamist groups, said that HTS dreams of implementing the Taliban model and was encouraged by the Taliban’s arrival to power in Afghanistan in August 2021. This was evident through its practices at the political level over the past three years and its remarkable transformations in which it tries to prove that it is a national liberation movement and not a jihadist group that emerged from the womb of al-Qaeda.
El-Sayed explained in a special statement to the Reference that these transformations made the other factions see similarities with the actions of the regime on which the revolution was based, and therefore HTS has placed itself in the crosshairs of those factions, as happened with the regime, as a result of HTS’s shift to another path similar to that of the state.