The Syrian anti-government Islamist faction and al-Qaeda spinoff which has for years occupied Idlib province, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), has issued a formal statement celebrating the Taliban’s victory this week in Afghanistan.
HTS called the Taliban conquest an event of "utmost joy and delight" while also saying those fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad "draw inspiration" for what it dubbed "the Syrian Revolution." This after on Tuesday and into Wednesday HTS oversaw a ‘victory parade’ in honor of the Taliban in Idlib’s streets.
The HTS communiqué, which was subsequently translated into English by regional analyst Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, began by declaring, "With utmost joy and delight we received the news of the conquests of our people in Afghanistan, and their land’s obtaining of freedom from the occupation and its agents at the hands of the Taliban…".
"And we in the Syrian revolution draw inspiration… from these living experiences and examples that bear witness to holding fast to the choice of resistance and jihad in order to obtain freedom and dignity embodied in bringing down the criminal regime," it continues.
Further HTS calls the Taliban "brothers" while castigating the "international community" for being "silent about the crimes of Bashar and his aides."
Interestingly absent are any direct references to the United States or the Pentagon troop draw down and exit which precipitated Kabul’s fall days ago. The statement only references the Taliban’s "obtaining of freedom from the occupation and its agents at the hands of the Taliban."
Footage from Idlib's streets this week...
Possibly HTS is refraining from any direct verbal attack or criticism aimed at the United States given the jihadists in Idlib are likely still holding out hope for once again gaining direct support from the West against Syrian Army and Russian forces, akin to the 2015 Idlib offensive at the time of the so-called ‘Army of Conquest’ coalition.
In recent years HTS and allied factions in Idlib have been widely described as "the Syrian Taliban" for their brutal crackdown on everything from alcohol consumption, to women being 'uncovered', to any and all violations of strict Sharia law.
The obvious irony in all this is that the United States had for two decades fought Taliban jihadists in Afghanistan, while at the same time covertly supporting jihadists of the same or similar ideology in Syria.