Al-Shabaab leader Abu Ubeydah Ahmad Umar long speech posted on pro-jihadist websites implores on militant groups operating in the troubled Syria to unite and stop the infighting.
The Al-Shabaab emir stresses the importance of Sham as well as lectures the factions (HTS and JTS) in the wake jihadi infighting that has left hundreds of their rival factions dead.
Rival Militants Groups Brief History
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is a union of five Islamist organizations based primarily in the northwestern region of Syria that wants to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and replace him with Sharia law.
The group has fought ISIS and the Syrian government and has flourished as the focus of the US-led coalition and the Syrian and Russian governments is focused elsewhere in the country.
HTS’ rise as it consolidates power in northwest Syria. Led by a former Al-Qaeda militant, HTS is mostly based in Syria’s Idlib Governorate and has taken advantage of the US-led coalition’s focus on ISIS in the East, as well as the Syrian government and Russia’s focus on other parts of the country.
HTS came into existence about a year ago, when Jabhat Fath al Sham, previously known as the Al Nusrah Front, the official Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria until its re-branding in July of 2016, announced a merger with four other Islamist groups operating in Syria.
In the southern countryside of jihadist-controlled Idlib province, the Al-Qaeda-linked HTS killed Muhammad Abu al-Biishr, the son of Suqour al-Sham military commander Aby Ayssa al-Sheikh during clashes in Mariyan town. This sparked outrage amid the FSA-affiliated faction which vowed vengeance.
Suqour al-Sham is part of Syrian Liberation Front (Jabhat Tahrir Souriya -JTS) alliance which also includes Ahrar al-Sham and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement. The newly-formed group is engaged in a war against its main rival; HTS.
Ferocious battles broke out between the two warring parties across south Idlib and west Aleppo countryside, with both sides exchange control over several towns and villages, while sustain heavy losses.
In the same context, HTS security chief Abu al-Baraa was assassinated by unidentified assailants by opening fire at his vehicle near Hader town, south Aleppo countryside.
Abu Ubeydah’s argument is essentially the same as Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri’s and others who have previously addressed the infighting and motioned towards unity.