Al-Qaeda loyalists detained by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militants were preparing to carry out terror attacks outside Syria, a well-informed source told the opposition news outlet Baladi News.
According to the source, the detained Al-Qaeda supporters, including prominent commander Abu Julaybib Al-Tabousi and cleric Sami Al-Aridi, were plotting to restore Al-Qaeda in Syria by bringing together remnants of Liwa Al-Aqsa group, which used to be an HTS faction, and ISIS deserters. The ultimate aim of the plotters was to carry out terror attacks in foreign countries.
The source claimed that the detained jihadis were creating sleeper cells to “saw discord” among the HTS ranks.
The source accused Al-Tabousi of attempting to restore Al-Qaeda positions in Daraa, saying that he twice traveled to the southern province to create an affiliate of Al-Qaeda there. Al-Tabousi was ultimately detained by HTS militants when he was trying to escape to Daraa through the areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The source mentioned that other Al-Qaeda supporters were detained “in a legal manner” by the order of a Sharia court after they had rejected to settle the issue peacefully.