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Dec 12, 2015
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Jabhat Al-Nusra Leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: Participating in Riyadh Talks Constitutes High Treason

#5210 | 06:48
Source: Orient News TV (Syrian Opposition)

In an interview with the Syrian opposition Orient News TV, Jabhat Al-Nusra Leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani said about the Riyadh conference on Syria, which concluded December 10, 2015: "[It] constitutes high treason against the youth who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives." He rejected the demand for his faction to disconnect from Al-Qaeda, saying that it was not Jabhat Al-Nusra's link to Al-Qaeda that was preventing the toppling of the Al-Assad regime. Al-Joulani further said that he was confident that the Al-Assad regime was "on the verge of collapse." The interview aired on the Syrian opposition Orient News TV on December 12, 2015.

Following are excerpts:

Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "I view the [Riyadh] conference as a step toward implementation of what took place in Vienna. This is the first step in that direction and is closely connected to the [Vienna talks]. The outcome of the Vienna talks was in no way keeping with the interests of the people of Syria, and is entirely unacceptable."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani:"[The Riyadh conference] constitute high treason against the youth who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives. They have all sacrificed their lives, in order to establish a rightly guided Islamic rule."


Host: "Were you invited to the Riyadh conference?"

Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani:"I wasn't, but if I had been invited, I would have refused to come."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani:"Most of the factions that went to that conference do not have effective control of their soldiers on the ground. This proposal was rejected by the people on the ground. Even if agreement is achieved, I don’t think they are capable of implementing it on the ground."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani:"Today, the armed factions in the liberated areas have more tanks and weapons of various types that the regime. So we have not lost the ability to fight..."

Host: "But you don't have the ability to win the war..."

Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "Nor does the regime. We believe that if the efforts in the liberated areas continue on the present course, there are very good prospects. Conversely, the discussion of a political solution is seen as serious only because the regime is on the verge of collapse. It's finished. It should be considered obsolete. The Russians intervened not in order to preserve the regime, but to resuscitate it."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "I believe that [local] truce agreements are the first steps towards surrender. This serves on the regime. We still have the ability to fight. What would happen if we lost that ability? We still have victories and great achievements. The regime has ruled these areas for 40 years, and no one should expect it to come to an end overnight."

Host: "Is it true that you have tried to foil a truce agreement in Ghouta?"

Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "Naturally, we are striving to foil this truce agreement, which we totally reject. Such a truce cannot come to be as long as we are present in East Ghouta."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "Russia has learned the lesson of the Afghanistan war, and its intervention in Syria is cautious and careful. It has specific goals. Right now, they are absolutely unwilling to send large forces."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "I don’t believe that the real problem of the Turks is with ISIS. They have a greater problem with the Kurds. This has to do with Turkish national security. The Kurds have a nation behind them. There are nearly 10 million Kurds in Turkey. ISIS, on the other hand, does not have such a presence in Turkey – ISIS does not represent a specific nationality. The existence of a [Kurdish] entity... For example, a Kurdish entity was formed in Iraq a decade ago, and it was allowed to expand into Syria. Perhaps in 20 years, this entity will expand into Turkey, and 20 years later, into Iranian territory. The countries surrounding the Kurds fear that scenario. The Kurds are a Muslim society, and we consider them to be part of us."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "The proposal to establish a safe zone is not driven by concern for the Syrians, or by a desire to establish a government, and so on. Its goal is to defend Turkish national security."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "As you know full well, there is no such thing as a Free Syrian Army. This is a group of factions, joined [only] by that name, but with no organizational connection to one another. Its neither an army nor an organization. It's merely a name that people have gotten used to. Some of these factions are hostile to us. They try to harm us by planting bombs, by carrying out attacks, and by kidnapping our people. Unfortunately, we are forced to arrest these people to protect ourselves."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "Some people make it look as if it is Jabhat Al-Nusra's link to Al-Qaeda that prevents the toppling of the Bashar Al-Assad regime. This is not the case. Even if tomorrow morning we declared that we would disconnect from Al-Qaeda, would this spell the toppling of Bashar Al-Assad? No."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "The West's problem with factions that it designates [as terrorist] has to do with their ideology. We can never share the same [ideology] as the West. With or without Al-Qaeda, we will never relinquish our fixed principles. We will continue to strive to implement the shari'a, we will continue our jihad, and we will never stop fighting an enemy that attacks us. These are among the axioms of the religion of Islam."


Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "Right now, Jabhat Al-Nusra is not interested in fighting anyone but Al-Assad, Hizbullah, and anyone hurting the people of Syria. Al-Qaeda plays many roles, which are distributed between [its members]. Not all members do the same thing. Perhaps Al-Qaeda has people who fight the U.S. and are active in Europe, but our sole mission is..."

Host: "One way or another, we turn all of Al-Qaeda's enemies throughout history into enemies of the Syrian people."

Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani: "I disagree. We have a presence on the ground. This huge number of enemies... Russia did not come only for the sake of Jabhat Al-Nusra. Russia is a superpower. It designates any faction that opposes the regime as terrorist and wants to fight it. All the factions are being bombarded by the Russians, just like us."

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