Author Archives: Sam Heller

Islamic State: Substantial, continuous “returns”

Below is another translation from issue 192 of the Islamic State’s weekly newsletter al-Naba, this time the latest in a series of columns on operational guidance titled “Take Care.” This seems notable in terms of how it presents a sort … Continue reading

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Islamic State: “In the eyes of his enemies an army of heroes…”

Below is a translation of the editorial from issue 192 of the Islamic State’s weekly newsletter al-Naba. The editorial – which is presumably aimed at the Islamic State’s core supporters, including militants active in the field – takes a derisive tone on Iraqi … Continue reading

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Tahrir al-Sham’s Abu al-Yaqadhan al-Masri: “The coming days are pregnant with surprises.”

Below is a 17 September Telegram post from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham shar’i Abu al-Yaqadhan al-Masri, one of a number of Tahrir al-Sham officials/media personalities who have reacted unfavorably to the announcement of a new Turkish-Russian deal for Syria’s Idlib. province. … Continue reading

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Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Abu Ikrimah al-Urduni on Idlib protests: “Brothers, a very important issue…”

Below are translations of two voice recordings purported to be of Tahrir al-Sham emir “Abu Ikrimah al-Urduni,” via anti-Jabhat al-Nusrah/Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group “JAN Violations.” The voice messages are notable for their apparently acute sensitivity to the optics of Idlib’s … Continue reading

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Sina’at al-Fikr: “The mujahideen at this stage shouldn’t defend according to the principle, ‘Until the last man, and the last bullet.'”

Below is how I think Hayat Tahrir al-Sham may now be fighting the Syrian regime’s forces, as the latter push deeper into rebel-held Idlib. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham seems not to be mounting a valiant, heels-dug-in last stand, but rather a … Continue reading

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War on the Rocks: “America in Search of an Un-Geneva for Syria”

For War on the Rocks, I’ve written a companion piece to my recent Century Foundation commentary on America’s re-investment in Syria’s Geneva talks. In this latest, I try to answer: If Geneva won’t secure U.S. interests in Syria, what will? … Continue reading

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Perspectives on Terrorism: “The Strategic Logic of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham”

New paper from me, for a special al-Qaeda-focused issue of Perspectives on Terrorism: “The Strategic Logic of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” For this issue, I wrote on the strategic thinking behind the 2017 establishment of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the latest iteration … Continue reading

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