Syrian Salafist group HTS suspends co-founder Abu Maria al-Qahtani
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group formerly known as al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, on Thursday announced that co-founder Abu Maria al-Qahtani has been suspended amid an investigation into his improper use of social media and external communications.
Following rumors about his arrest, Tahrir al-Sham says co-founder and senior leader Abu Maria al-Qahtani has been suspended and is under investigation for undisciplined social media use. pic.twitter.com/wbJX8haA9p— Aron Lund (@aronlund) August 17, 2023
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports this news comes a week after reports of the arrest of al-Qahtani.
Charles Lister, senior fellow and director of the Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism programmes at the Middle East Institute, on Aug. 16 suggested there were rumors that Abu Maria al-Qahtani was detained by HTS security units on suspicion of collaborating with foreign (US) intelligence.
Veteran jihadist Abu Maria al-Qahtani, whose real name is Muyassar ibn ‘Ali al-Juburi, was born in Iraq in 1976 and later fought the US army in Iraq. During the Syrian Civil War, he played a role in setting up Jabhat al-Nusra and later played a senior role in the HTS.