ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish-backed Syrian opposition has changed the flag it has been using since the outbreak of country’s 7-year-old civil war to now prominently feature an Islamic creed, the opposition council in north Syria announced on Sunday.
The constituent assembly in Syria’s northern Idlib province said in a statement that the new flag will now be flown over what it called “the liberated areas” in the country’s north.
The so-called "Syrian Revolution Flag" — a green, white and black tricolor with three red stars, adopted back in 2012 — will still retain the triband colors, but the red stars have been replaced by the red-inked Shahada, the Islamic testimony of faith, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed.
The passage translates to "I believe that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah." The Shahada is also present on the flag of Saudi Arabia as well as several other nations, including Afghanistan and the unrecognized state of Somaliland.
The Syrian opposition constituent assembly was formed in the country’s north in September 2017 after forming the General Syrian Conference, an organ within the Turkey-based opposition structure known as the Syrian National Coalition.
Back in 2017, the Conference formed the so-called Syrian Salvation Government, a ruling body of various opposition groups.
Opposition in Idlib is strongly associated with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, seeking to evade critique by mimicking "moderate opposition" movements.
The move could signal the opposition's sway toward jihadism, although all the underlying reasons for such a step remain unclear.
The change follows Turkish threats against and attacks on Kurdish-held areas of Syria’s northeast, occurring since last month.
Editing by John J. Catherine