Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Syrian jihadi group previously under al-Qaeda’s command structure, which has recently arrested some al-Qaeda loyalists in Syria, has been engaged in assaults on the Syrian rebellion for many years in an effort to assert its own hegemony. On 2 December, HTS declared a ceasefire with all other insurgent units and the formation of a Settlement Committee or Reconciliation Committee. Though HTS claims this Committee is independent, it is quite clearly within HTS’s shari’a department. The Committee issued its first statement on the same day it was announced, a translation of which was made by Al-Maqalaat, and is republished below.
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All praises are due to the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his relatives and all of his companions.
As for what follows:
Allah the Almighty said, “The believers are nothing but brothers, so reconcile with your brethren and fear God [so] that you may receive mercy” [al-Hujurat (49): 10]. Looking at where the events have led in the Syrian arena, and their implications, which aroused anger between the hearts of the believers, the Committee of Settlement, which was established previously, has begun to function, composed of:
- Shaykh Abu Abd al-Karim [al-Khorasani]: president of the committee
- Shaykh Abu Malik al-Shami [former Jabhat al-Nusra emir in Qalamun]
- Shaykh Abu Qatada al-Albani [real name: Abdul Jashari, a citizen of Macedonia, was appointed al-Nusra’s military emir in the summer of 2014 and now retains a military role in HTS]
- Shaykh Mukhtar al-Turki
- Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani
- Shaykh Abu Musab al-Shami
We would also like to stress the independence of the Committee, and that it was established to seek the pleasure of God, and it was established to achieve the goals of the shari’a and reconciliation between the Muslims. God Almighty said, “There is no good in much of their secret talks, except for those who enjoin Sadaqa [charity for God’s cause] or Ma’ruf [commanding what is religiously right], or conciliation among people. Whosoever does this, seeking the Pleasure of God, We shall bestow on him a great reward” [Al-Nisa (4):114].
And we want to call upon all the brothers to support this Committee and to abide by its decisions, so that we become like one body. Like Numan bin Bashir (may God be pleased with him) reported from the Messenger of God (peace and blessings of God be upon him), who said, “The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted.”
And we stress upon all the sides [the need] to stop publishing confrontational posts, interchanging in the media [i.e. in public], and the like, so we can achieve solutions in a calm atmosphere where mercy and affinity between the believers reigns. And we warn against listening to those who are only concerned with incitements between the mujahideen and dividing their ranks. God Almighty said, “Had they marched with you, they would not have increased you except in confusion, hurrying to and fro in your midst, seeking to cause fitna [sedition]; and among you are some who would have listened to them. God is aware of the Zalimun [trespassers beyond the boundaries of the faith, evil-doers]” [Al-Tawba (9): 47].
We call upon all the mujahid brothers to turn to ribat [their guarding points] and repel the transgressing enemy. We remind you of the Hadith of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him): “Whoever fought in the cause of God as long as the time between two consecutive turns of milking a she-camel [a short period of time] will be surely admitted to Paradise” [Reported by Tirmidi].
Our final prayer is that all praise belong to God, the Lord of the worlds.
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UPDATE (5 Dec. 2017): Samir Hijazi (Abu Hammam al-Suri), one of the former Jabhat al-Nusra members who broke from the Hay’at and is part of a group of declared al-Qaeda loyalists in Syria (Ansar al-Furqan), released a statement rejecting the authority of the settlement committee to compose differences among the insurgency because it is an exclusivist HTS project.