Many muhajireen of different origins remain in the field in northwest Syria. In my view it is important to hear their perspectives on the current situation amid the intense airstrikes and the fighting on a number of fronts. Below is an interview I conducted on 19 July 2019 with a non-Arab muhajir who came to Syria a couple of years ago.
Q: So my first question is how do you assess the state of jihad in al-Sham today? Many brothers think the jihad has suffered a strategic defeat because the regime and its allies now control the most important cities in Syria.
A: I see the current situation good, very good. We prepared ourselves for this time and this battle. We knew that the regime will attack us. The battle began more than 2 months ago and they didn't take any important places bifadlillah and they had high casualties. Our morale is very high and we are not defeated physically or psychologically.
Q: But what I mean is where do you see this going in the long-run? For example do you think the mujahideen could re-enter cities like Halab in the next few years?
A: Yes I think that the mujahidin will re-enter cities like Aleppo and more like this. We will enter new places in shaa Allah. It is a time of sabr, thabat and tawakul. We see a good example at the Taliban. Everybody thought that they are defeated, but there sabr and tawakul made them stronger than before.
Q: And what about the southern region in al-Sham, which the regime entirely controls?
A: They took this region because of the betrayers. But Alhamdulillah here in the north isn't the same scenario. Here are sincerely brothers with Allah.
Q: So do you think the mujahideen will be able to re-enter the south at some point?
A: Yes. Not eventually: 100 % in shaa Allah
Q: How do you assess the role of Turkey in the region? Do you think Turkey has malign intentions against the mujahideen? Is the Turkish presence in Idlib a problem or advantage for the mujahideen?
A: I don't know what should i say about their presence. They are like spectator of war in Syria in their observations points.
Q: But I mean is the Turkish presence useful for example in blocking the regime and its allies from advancing?
A: No, like everybody is seeing the regime tries to advance.
Q: Yes, so basically they are just observers and not really doing anything meaningful to stop the attempts at advances.
A: Yes that's right.
Q: A lot of brothers on the outside wonder about the large number of factions in the field and see this as an impediment to unity and effective operations. Without talking about specific groups, in your view is it better to have more than one faction in the field for the interests of the jihad in the long-term?
A: Yes here a many factions but Alhamdulillah not so much like in the beginning of the revolution. And they are working together against the enemy. And yes in my opinion it is better that there is just one faction. And it is look like that it will be one faction in future in shaa Allah. We ask Allah for success.
Q: Another issue is hijra for the muhajireen to al-Sham in order to support the mujahideen. Is hijra now very difficult to undertake in light of the controls over the border between Turkey and al-Sham?
A: It is possible but not so easy like in the beginning of the revolution. The borders are strictly guarded by Turkish soldiers.
Q: If one cannot undertake hijra, what is the best course of action to support the jihad in al-Sham?
A: What he can do is Du3a, da3wa for jihad and financially support.
Q: Are there still new muhajireen arriving every month to al-Sham to join the jihad?
A: I don't know. I am too busy to judge about that.
Q: Is your intention to stay in al-Sham to attain shahada?
A: My intention is to make Allah's word the highest, to help the oppressed people and to build for them a good future. And my final desire is to get the shahada, the best shahada.
Q: And also let us suppose the jihad brings the downfall of the regime. Do you see the goal then to establish a state which rules by Allah's law and then is the launching point to liberate al-Aqsa and revive the true Khilafa?
A: Yes we are fighting here to establish a state which will rule by Allah's law. And our fight will not end with Bashar in shaa Allah. We are fighting for every oppressed people. First the oppressed Muslims and then for the oppressed non-Muslims.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add? Say a message to the Muslims of the Ummah etc.
A: My message for the Ummah is that they have to realize in which situation the Ummah is. We have no rights, we are oppressed, we don't have a state and the medicine for all this is to return to Allah and fight in His cause. We have to stand up for every Muslim in the world and we have to take responsibility.
(Glossary of Arabic terms)
bifadlillah- by the grace of God
tawakul- putting reliance in God
in shaa Allah- if God wills
Alhamdu lillah- praise be to God
Ummah- global Muslim community