I have previously discussed the jihadist trend in northwest Syria that believes Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (which is the dominant insurgent faction in the area) to be an apostate sect. This is embodied in the writings of figures like 'Khayal al-Manhaj' and the operations carried out by the likes of the Abdullah bin Unais group. But there is also the Telegram channel called 'al-Nadhir al-Uryan' ('The Bare Warner') that believes Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham has fallen into apostasy but does not go so far as to pronounce takfir on the entire group. Note that this channel is not to be confused with another 'al-Nadhir al-Uryan' channel that has leaked many internal files of the Islamic State group (and is no longer active, as far as I can tell). It was this channel that published a tract by an individual using the name 'Abu Himam al-Shami.' When the tract first appeared, it was mistakingly attributed by some to the 'Abu Himam al-Shami' who is the overall leader of the al-Qa'ida-loyalist group Hurras al-Din.
On 19 January 2021, I conducted an interview with the al-Nadhir al-Uryan channel for its view on the current situation in northwest Syria. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Praise be to God and prayers and peace be upon the Imam of the mujahideen [Prophet Muhammad] and on all his family and companions. As for what follows:
Q: How do you assess the general situation in the field of al-Sham [Syria] today?
A: The field of al-Sham has gone through stages and trials and tribulations over the course of the last decade and the Sunan [precepts] of God are not partial to anyone, for indeed the reasons for the external enemy's gaining of control over the Muslims in the interior have been realised from betrayal of God and His Messenger and the believers and the infighting between them and abandoning the establishment of the religion of God Almighty. And the one who tracks that sees with his own eye the confinement of the Muslims and their gathering in a portion of Idlib in northern Syria.
And this portion has been pawned for the international agreements between Crusader Russia and the apostate secularist Turkey such that their convoys have entered the land and Turkey has implanted its bases in the region and made the military decision-making in its hand through the so-called 'al-Fatah al-Mubin' operations room. And this is only to destroy the jihad and its people and turn them away from the path of God, and between them and that until the camel should pass through the eye of the needle.
And we believe with firm faith that after adversity is ease and that deliverance is with hardship and a group of this Ummah will keep fighting on the command of God, not being harmed by the one who forsakes them or the one who contravenes them, until the Hour should arise, and the depth of the abode of the believers is al-Sham.
So with this bitter tribulation that the field of al-Sham is going through, we rejoice and hope that the bounty is born and God enables His servants and so He makes them successors in the land and enables for them their religion in which He has been pleases for them and grants them security in exchange after their fear, as they truly worship God and wage jihad against the enemies of God in the land of al-Sham, and God will open up for them Bayt al-Maqdis [Jerusalem] and they will free the prisoners from the prisons of the Tawagheet. And they will not be stopped by artificial imaginary limits or contrived international borders.
Q: Has the jihad come to an end because of the influence of the great powers and the deeds of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham?
A: The jihad remains and continues until the rise of the Hour, as it is not harmed by the scheming of the schemers or the betrayal of the traitors, but the gathering and assembly of the great states (and they are the lowly ones, may God not make them great) like America and Russia, with the entry of the Turkish apostate occupation of the field of al-Sham, have led the mujahideen to learn a new war method attriting the enemy and prolonging the time of the battle.
And the deeds and relapses undertaken by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham will not harm the jihad and its people but rather the outcome and consequences of their deeds will go back on them if they do not return to the authentic manhaj and straight path.
Q: How do you assess the situation for example in terms of the administration of the areas in Idlib and the economy etc. and likewise in terms of implementing the rule of God's law?
A: Before we speak about the administration of the area, we assess the work by the balance of the law, as for the media embellishment, the false inflation and international pleading for support, this has no value in our view.
So the administration arises on the commission of the Taghuti governments from the formation of a government, ministries and councils of elections, and there is no surprise from that if the one leading a matter is of those who were working in the disbelieving Ba'ath government and they have not understood the command of their religion, so your choice is in Jahiliya, while your choice is in Islam if they have understood it.
And the corruption is spread in it from all angles whether in:
The economic administration (which controls the wealth of the oppressed Muslims and the wealth of the crossings and the wealth of the NGOs that enter, in order to corrupt the people in their religion).
Or the educational (which is overseen by the international NGOs that strive to corrupt the creed of the people and spread their evil ideas through the secular curriculum in which most of the subjects are worldly subjects and some of them atheistic, like philosophy and some of the interpolated ideas in the curriculum, along with the ethical corruption and prohibited mixing and adornment and unveiling and other condemned acts).
Or from the realm of health (for the hospitals are controlled and supported by the American NGOs, for example the American SAMS [Syrian-American Medical Society], for these NGOs are the ones that adopt the path of Satan for themselves as they outwardly show humanitarianism and false mercy in order to deceive the Muslims and corrupt their religion and ethics. And these NGOs focus on recruiting young men and women in the prime of their life with the prohibited mixing and unveiling and adornment that lead to obscenity and refuge is to be sought in God).
Or from the residential angle (like the residential camps for example also overseen by the evil international NGOs that want to spread vice and obscenity among those who have believed in building camps near to each other in which the private parts are exposed while the Muslims are deceived with some food baskets in order to place them in great neglect of the obligation of jihad and to make their concern the belly and deliverance. May God bring them to perdition. This is so with the fragility of the building and the swindling of them in it such that we have heard of the one upon whom has fallen the roof of his house or he has drowned with his people. May God keep the Muslims safe from every hated thing).
So this corrupt false administration that the Salvation Government claims, its disappearance is imminent with the disappearance of these NGOs from the field of al-Sham, and as is said: 'Whoso possesses your morsel, possesses your neck.'
As for the Shari'i realm (for the Shari'i rulings, you scarcely find them going past the door of the courts present in Idlib, for you find no open hadd punishment nor the one who condemns a forbidden condemned act that is spread with the mixing of the disbelievers with the Muslims, and this is the fitna and great corruption. We ask God for sufficiency).
Q: Has Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham fallen into apostasy? And why exactly?
A: Yes, because of its loyalty to and support for the Turks in protecting them and preventing their targeting. And we have clarified this in the article 'al-Mi'wal al-Haddam' that we published on the channel of al-Nadhir al-Uryan.
Q: What is your opinion of the Abdullah bin Unais group and the Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron? Are they affiliated with the Dawla [Islamic State] group?
A: We stand with, bless and support what the Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron has done from healing the hearts of the believers and inflicting damage on the apostates.
And we have not forgotten that virtuous Muslim girl that the apostate Turkish army killed in the locality of al-Mastuma so our revenge for her is not in one expedition or two, but rather until we scrape off the soldiers of the Turks and make their heads something the children can play with in the streets, by the permission of God.
We also support all who have killed the one whose corruption in the land has not ended except by his killing.
As for defining the squadron and the affiliation, perhaps an official statement will come out from them and clarify that, and the response is with them and not with us.
Q: What is your advice to the groups like Hurras al-Din in the present time?
A: We advise all the honest groups, including those who have remained from Hurras al-Din, to separate from the people of the deviant projects and the crooked banners and that they should know that the small number and the large number are of no value against the truth but rather the lesson is in steadfastness on the doctrine of al-wala' and al-bara' [loyalty and disavowal] even if you are a person driven out and expelled, for this is the true victory and this is the great attainment.
And we call on all the mujahideen to take off the clothing of sleep and gather to repel the aggression from the religion and the Muslims and know that Paradise is under the shade of swords and whoso fights for the time between the two milkings of the she-camel, Paradise is mandated for him, and God is the trustee of that, and the One capable of it. This is so and God knows best and God's blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad.
(Update 22 January 2021: In inserting explanatory square brackets after certain terms, I accidentally put 'Islamic State' after the Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron's name rather than the Dawla group when I initially put up the interview. Apologies for the error as I would like to clarify that I do not believe Ansar Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Squadron to be Islamic State affiliated, as I have made clear before).
I have also changed the title and introduction for this interview as per the suggestion of the interviewee on the basis of distinguishing between saying that someone has fallen into disbelief and apostasy and actually pronouncing takfir on that person.