Just over a week ago, a new clerical body was formed, al-Majlis Shura Ahl al-ilm fil-Sham (Advisory Council of the People of Knowledge in Syria), which includes Islamists from within Syria and from outside. Among the notable foreigners are Umar al-Hadouchi, a Moroccan jihadi-salafist, and Muhammad Ould al-Dedew, a Mauritanian who is more in line with the Sururis. There is also Abdallah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi jihadi cleric who is very close to al-Qaeda’s leadership inside Syria. From among Syrians, there are two Ahrar al-Sham notables, Dr. Ayman al-Harush and Mohamed Ayman Aboul-Tout (Abu Abbas al-Shami); Sa’ad al-Uthman, the son of Abd al-Karim, a major figure in the Hama wing of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmad al-Salum, a Sururi (an activist/political Salafi).
The Council’s first statement condemned the 25 July assassination of the Faylaq al-Sham commander Mazin al-Qassum by Islamic State (IS) operatives with Jund al-Aqsa, and demanded that all groups clarify their stance on IS and cleanse their ranks of IS agents and sympathizers. Today’s fatwa, “Concerning cooperation and coordination with the Turks in repelling Daesh and the PKK,” licensed Muslims to work with the Turkish government against IS and the PKK. The fatwa is reproduced below. Continue reading