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HTS finesses tribes in Syria’s Idlib

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani has increasingly been seen meeting with tribal elders in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, part of efforts to polish his image and that of his group.
OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images

A video circulated on social media on May 17 showing the leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Abu Mohammed al-Golani, in a tent meeting with a number of tribal elders in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, during a visit on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. Golani is known for exploiting such occasions for media coverage.

The video shows Golani beginning his speech by saying, “HTS is in the stage of preparing and building institutions in preparation for a major war. At the same time we are advancing toward Damascus, because the Syrian regime is collapsing in light of the deteriorating economic situation, in addition to losing all its support. Even the Russians could not protect the regime.”

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