Originally allies Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Daesh have a torrid history and one of rivalry and betrayal. HTS (first Jabaht al-Nusra) went to Syria under Al-Jolani to fight against the Assad regime, at the time they were subsidiaries of Islamic State in Iraq, however Jolani soon pivoted and pledged allegiance to Aymen al-Zawahiri head of Al-Qaeda and not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This ultimately led to a realigning of these two groups with Daesh totally splitting from al-Qaeda and Jolani forming an anti-Assad coalition under HTS that would fight for territory in Syria and also be under the auspice of AQ.
This led to a contested space in Syria, not from government “counter terrorism forces” but between two factions with a similar view of the world. As time passed and Daesh faded and lost on every front, HTS grew in power and was able to combat Assad, Russian and Daesh hostilities until now in 2023 the AQ terrorist group controls considerable territory in Syria as a quasi-political entity.
It is clear that Daesh has been unable to deal with Jolanis actions against their group and has suffered markedly from HTS anti-Daesh campaigns. Below is a old letter from Daesh deputy governor of Aleppo, in which he outlines the fact that Daesh is unable to conduct operations in the region due to what he terms “political considerations”. It is clear that these political considerations were an inability to counteract the HTS power in the region and may even be conducive of deals having to be made. After all how many senior Daesh officials have we now seen killed in the Syria region?? And even direct examples of HTS killings and arrests of Daesh! See the document below:
Below is a map of HTS counter Daesh operations in the Idlib region of Syria and a list of senior Daesh officials that were arrested by HTS over this time period.1 Also of note is the fact that Daesh have not delivered a successful operation in HTS territory since 2018. Is this because they made “political considerations” or they have simply been weak and incapable.?
From this and by their own admission we can clearly see that Daesh were unable to tackle their own rivals in Syria. They were systematically hunted down by HTS and were unable to defend themselves against those they had once called brothers. It is clear that Daesh is a limping relic of its former self and cannot fight against their ultimate enemy America let alone their ex-members in Syria.
[AI TRANSLATION OF DAESH MEMO BEGINS:]
Murad Al-Rahman Al-Rahim
Number: p. 602/41
The Islamic State of the Levant
Date: 10/24/1441 AH
M / inform
Praise be to God, the Comforter of Islam with His victory, the humiliator of polytheism with His subjugation, the disposition of matters by His command, the luring of the unbelievers with His cunning, the One who predestined the days into nations with His justice.
And prayers and peace be upon the one above whom God enlightened Islam with his sword, and to proceed:
To Sheikh Amir Mufassal Al-Alam – may God protect him and help him and direct his steps –
May God’s peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you. I ask God that our message reaches you while you are in good health, well-being, dignity, and empowerment, and to make your feet firm, direct your steps, and open the country and the hearts of the servants at your hands.
We ask you to coordinate and follow-up with the Wilayat of Aleppo in order to raise all their security operations to the Media Office for publication on the official publishing sites, as it was agreed with the sheikhs on this and the approval came recently in this regard, and it was not approved to enhance the operations of the Wilayat Idlib for political considerations.
And Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds
Deputy Wali of the Levant
Sheikh Wali Al-Sham – may God protect him – (for information).
Emir of Aleppo Province (to continue).
Your brother Abu Nasser Al-Iraqi archives.