Since the beginning of the negotiations in Astana, Turkey has been trying to save the jihadists in Syria. And so we witness the dissolution of the groups composed of foreign mercenaries [and their incorporation] into a new structure, Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (the Assembly for the Liberation of the Levant).

While controlled by Al-Qaeda, this new group differs from its predecessors in that the person in command is a Syrian: Abou Jaber Hashem Al-Cheikh (see photo). In 2005, this war-chief appears had been sentenced in Syria for his membership of the Muslim Brotherhood. Then, at the end of 2011, he had been released by virtue of a presidential amnesty and under the control of the Observation Mission of the Arab League.

In the photo above, you see a banner that was being brandished for several days in the demonstrations taking place on territory occupied by the jihadists. Side by side, Abou Jaber Hashem Al-Cheikh and Mohammad Allouche (the chief of the delegation opposing the negotiations at Astana) are depicted.

In their turn, the Katiba al-Imam Bukhari (formerly, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan), the Islamic Party of Turkestan and the Katiba al-Tawhid wal Jihad (jihadists that came from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) have subscribed to this the new flag. In a video declaring their unity, these jihadists declare that their primary objective is to topple “the butcher” (President Bashar el-Assad being understood).

If this is the case, then they are testifying as to what lies at their essence: the mercenary – the real Mc Coy: up till now, these groups that have come from Fergana Valley (East Uzbekistan, South Kirghizstan and North Tajikistan) declared that they were fighting both for the independence of their community in Central Asia and for their unification to Turkey.

Anoosha Boralessa