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Syrian jihadis hail Taliban ‘conquest’ despite their own effort to rebrand

The Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan was widely welcomed by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which offered sweets in the streets of Idlib.
Members of Syria's top jihadist group the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance, led by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate, parade with their flags and those of the Taliban's declared "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" through the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib on Aug. 20, 2021.
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IDLIB, Syria — Islamists of various shades have hailed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as a major victory for global jihad. Leaders of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the powerful extremist Sunni group that rules over broad swathes of the northwestern province of Idlib and used to pay fealty to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), are no exception, airing hope that a similar scenario will unfold in Syria with the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad and his “criminal regime.”

“With utmost joy and delight, we received the news of the conquest of our people in Afghanistan and their land’s [liberation] from the occupation and its agents at the hands of the Taliban,” HTS said in an Aug. 18 statement.

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