Country Risk

Detention of Al-Qaeda loyalists by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham increases likelihood of group's irreversible fragmentation in Syria

29 November 2017


On 28 November, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) released a statement announcing the detention of several senior jihadists in Syria loyal to Al-Qaeda, including Sami al-Oraydi and Abu Juleibib al-Urduni.

Al-Oraydi was the chief religious authority of Jabhat al-Nusra (as HTS was known before rebranding itself as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in July 2016 and as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in January 2017) and the group’s second in command. In February 2017, he left HTS in disagreement with the group’s decision to further distance itself from Al-Qaeda’s central leadership. Abu Juleibib al-Urduni was the former Jabhat al-Nusra emir for southern Syria. In the 28 November statement, HTS described the detained jihadists as “leaders of dissension who were spreading specious arguments”, adding that they would be put before a sharia court.

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