January 31, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7307

HTS Leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani In Pep Talk To Fighters On The Idlib Front: We Are Not Defeated, Jerusalem Awaits Us

January 31, 2018
Syria, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 7307

The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On January 27, 2018, Amjad Visual Production, a media group affiliated with Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), published a video on its website entitled "Confident of Allah's Victory." The six-minute video shows HTS leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani speaking words of encouragement to some dozen fighters in the field. The video was published two days before the first anniversary of the founding of HTS.

A few days prior to the posting of the video, Maysara Al-Humsi, commander of the Abu Al-Duhur sector for HTS, revealed in an interview on HTS's website Ebaa that Al-Joulani was on the frontlines of the fighting,[1] and photographs of Al-Joulani with his fighters in the rural area around Idlib were posted on the HTS Telegram channel.[2] Al-Joulani's rare appearance, and the highlighting of the fact that he is with his men on the frontlines of the fighting, is intended to rally the fighters in the Idlib area, who were involved in heavy fighting with the Syrian regime and experienced severe defeats, mainly the defeat at Abu Al-Duhur Airport.

For a MEMRI TV clip of excerpts from the video, click on the player below:

The following are excerpts from his statements in the video:

Al-Joulani said to his men: "There is no significance to the defeat in one village or another. Our goals are much loftier than that. Oh my brothers, when I arrived I had only 60 guns – I sent seven to Aleppo, five to Damascus, seven to Daraa, five to Hama… That was all that I had. To those who came to swear allegiance to me I said, 'I have nothing. We are doing whatever we can.' Today, we go to war [equipped with] with tanks, armored personnel carriers, Konkurs [missiles], and with lots of gear and many men…

"Oh brothers, this war is beyond a war between truth and lies. It is a war of ideas, a war of minds, a war of will, a war of steadfastness. We think , and our enemy also thinks.

"[Sometimes] one army prevails over another and the victor suffers tens of thousands of casualties, while the defeated [side] has only a few thousand dead. But the victor is [nevertheless] the one who wins. It doesn't matter how many of the enemy we have killed. This is why it is called a war of ideas and minds, a war of faith. We must use everything that we have to protect the Sunnis. We must use our brains and ask for the help of Allah, may He be exalted. In the most difficult moments, when we are breaking, we must be very decisive and not lose our faith in Allah, may He be exalted. He will grant us victory. There is no doubt about that. This is a faithful promise from Allah, may He be exalted, written in the most honorable book – the Quran. The Quran is intended not only to be read but also to be realized.

"This is the capital that we possess. Our capital is not equipment, or manpower, or numbers great or small. He who amasses material means to bring about the victory of the religion of Allah is deceiving himself. Allah is the One who grants victory to His servants, the pure and god-fearing who trusted in Him…

"Therefore, in this spirit, if Allah wills it we will reach not only Damascus; Jerusalem awaits us as well, if Allah wills it. The echo of every bullet that we fire here will reach the entire world of Islam.

"Your presence as a jihadi fighter on this blessed land is in itself by the grace of Allah, may He be exalted, Who chose you from among billions of people…

"We are not at a time of defeat. We must not cry about anything, except for one thing: If we are killed, may Allah the Exalted not be dissatisfied with us – that is the only thing that should concern us…"[3]


[1], January 23, 2018.

[3] 12, January 27, 2018.

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