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HTS leader shocks popular base after interview with Western journalist

Whenever Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani makes a media appearance, it causes a commotion among Syrian activists and analysts, the most controversial of which is his recent appearance in a suit.
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IDLIB, Syria —  Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, was recently interviewed by American journalist Martin Smith in Idlib, sparking controversy among the Syrian opposition and activists, especially since he was not wearing his traditional shami sirwel (loose pants) or his turban or carrying his rifle.

Smith tweeted a picture Feb. 2 with Golani with a caption saying, “Just returned from three days in Idlib, Syria with Abu Muhammad al Jolani [ Abu Mohammed al-Golani], founder of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. He spoke candidly about 9/11, AQ [al-Qaeda], Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS [Islamic State, or IS], America, and more.”

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