Sheikh Abdullah al-Muheisseni is a Saudi cleric and arguably among the most well-known muhajireen clerics in northwest Syria. Originally a spiritual figure in the Jaysh al-Fath ('Army of Conquest') coalition that was led by Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham and took over almost all of of Idlib in 2015, Muheisseni ended up joining Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which evolved out of Jabhat al-Nusra and broke ties with al-Qa'ida. However, he then left Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, and has most recently distinguished himself as a supporter of Ahrar al-Sham (the Salafi faction that is currently part of the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation).
In the current round of fighting in northwest Idlib, Turkish president Erdogan gave a deadline of the end of February for Syrian government forces and their allies to withdraw to the boundaries marked by the Sochi agreement Turkey struck with Russia in 2018. Otherwise, he threatened, there will be an all-out offensive to drive them back to those positions. Turkey is already intervening with large numbers of troops, increased assistance to rebel factions and drone attacks against Syrian government forces- an intervention that has helped reverse some of the gains of the Syrian government forces.
Muheisseni is now calling for full-scale Turkish intervention in a new video he has released with Turkish subtitles. In the video, besides his invocation of the religious obligation to support fellow Muslims facing oppression, he appeals to the Turks in particular as 'descendants of the Ottomans' to help their fellow Syrian Muslims. As part of his appeal Muheisseni recalls multiple events from history. He mentions the Syrians who fought for the Ottoman Empire against the Allies (the 'Crusaders', in Muheisseni's language) at the Battle of Gallipoli in the First World War. But the central historical event he recalls as the reason why the Turks must aid the Syrians in Idlib and its environs is the aid Sultan Bayezid II provided for the Muslims in Andalus (Andalusia in southern Spain) when they appealed for his help in the face of the persecution of the Christian rulers of Castile and Aragon. Bayezid II provided this help despite the counsels of his grand vizier who warned of the possibility of war with multiple Christian states and other problems the Ottoman Empire was facing: however, Bayezid II refused to be remembered in history or stand before God as someone who abandoned oppressed Muslims who called for his help. Meanwhile, Muheisseni compares the current campaign of the Syrian government and its allies in northwest Syria to the Mongol invasions of Syria in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Below is the video translated in full.
And here I send a message to the descendants of the Ottomans, in which I say:
Oh descendants of the Ottomans, by God, by God, support your Syrian brothers. I remind you of the words of the master of creation (SAWS): 'Whoso supports a Muslim in a place where he desires his support, God will support him on the Day of Judgment.' I remind you oh descendants of the Ottomans of the history of your conquering ancestors who were known for might and gallantry. And history recorded for them the greatest heroic acts.
The throats of this oppressed people have become hoarse, crying out under the lashes of the lasher, night-time of torments [?], and the heat of the fire:
Where are you oh Arabs? Where are you oh Muslims? In the hope that a sense of honour might be moved in the hearts of the rulers of the Arabs or in the hearts of the rulers of the Muslims, but alas, it is in vain. The whole world is watching on live-screen the harshest kinds of torment and the harshest kinds of destruction as though the matter does not concern them. Here today the people of al-Sham after nine years see a glimmer of hope and a gleam of dawn looming on the horizon, for God has willed, that Turkey should prepare today to undertake an epic battle to support the oppressed in the modern age, to defend its neighbours afflicted with misfortune and to return the favour to the prior martyrs of Syria to whom the walls of Istanbul- the land of Constantine- bore witness, as they waged the most epic battles in the Battle of Gallipoli and resisted the Crusaders. For perhaps you should support the oppressed against his oppressor. And perhaps you should restore the displaced to his land. And perhaps you should say to the tyrant: Enough! You have exceeded all bounds in shedding blood. And today has come the time for retribution.
Have you forgotten that day, the day when the Spaniards formed an alliance against the Muslims in Andalus? So the people of Andalus sent multiple messages to the rulers of the Muslims, seeking their help but with no helper, until they sent a message sealed with their blood to Sultan Bayezid II the son of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. They wrote in it as follows:
To his supreme highness, his eminence our lord the Sultan, the king who supports, the one who does justice for the oppressed, and reviver of justice, Bayezid II, The enemies have gathered today against us from every side and no one has remained for us after God except you, for the near and afar have abandoned us. The Muslims today in Andalus extend their greetings to you, oh eminent Sultan. Peace be upon you from old men, whose white hairs have been torn off in disgrace after glory, peace be upon you from old women being driven by the lasher in subjugation to seclusion. Peace be upon you from weak people who have been compelled to eat swine and meat of a corpse. We have complained to you, my lord, about what has struck us from harm, affliction and heavy loss. For were your eyes to see what our condition has come to, they would well with heavy tears.
So when Sultan Bayezid read these letters, he cried and drenched his beard with tears, then shouted in a high voice: come to me grand vizier, come to me ministers! So the ministers gathered stnding before him, then he informed them of the news of the message and said: Advise me, oh ministers. Then the grand vizier spoke and said: oh eminent Sultan, if we enter into this war, we will enter into a conflict with numerous Christian states, among them Castilia, Sicily and others. Oh eminent Sultan, the Safavids are plotting against us, and our interior rank is insecure, and we are in wars with the states of the Mamluks, and the only route to Andalus is by sea. And our state of affairs does not permit us to help our brothers.
So the sultan bent over, bowed his head for a while, then raised his head and said words recorded by history with golden ink, and said:
May history not write about me that I abandoned the one who sought my help. No, by God, may history not write about me that I abandoned my brothers. And I will not stand before my Lord on the Day of Judgement as one who abandoned an oppressed one who called on me.
Then he looked at the peerless military commander Kemal Reis and said:
Oh commander, I order you to take an entire naval fleet and set out immediately to help the people of Andalus and defend them with blood and defend their religion and honour.
So that convoy set out and that magnanimous fleet to defend the people of Andalus and for history to record this great stance in helping the Muslims. Sultan Bayezid II died but the memory of him has not died. And his support and gallantry have not died, nor his zeal or his defense of his people. For today we remember him and call for mercy on Sultan Bayezid. So peace of God be upon you, oh Sultan Bayezid and peace be upon your conquering father Sultan Mehmet. May God have mercy on you. May God make you dwell in His highest Paradise.
And here today is history repeating itself, as though the events are repeating, and as though matters are repeating themselves in similar occurrences. For here today are the Mongols of the age attacking the land of al-Sham killing the women without mercy, burying children alive, and burying and destroying homes upon their families, and destroying the minarets of the Muslims, and the people of al-Sham cry out and call out: 'By Islam, where are those who respond?' And they call on you oh descendants of the Ottomans for you are the nearest of the people to them. Your borders are near their borders. They are your neighbours. They are your brothers. So your obligation in God's eyes is to support them, as though the people of al-Sham are sending you verses in which they say:
Peace be upon you oh baskets of the noble deeds, peace be upon the one who has been strict in word. We have seen multitudes of soldiers that have come. So will you not repel the one who has been evil, oh you who have in their ancestor the best example, and their history to which every knowledgeable one bears witness, and the land of al-Sham was of the foundation of your abode? Your flags were flying above the landmarks. Do not abandon the starving to the one who has been treacherous. For you are to them a fortress, strongly clinging together.
So by God, by God, support your oppressed brothers. So by God, by God, support your oppressed brothers. For they seek your help, and indeed God commands you to support the oppressed. These words, I wrote them from the womb of the suffering, from here, as I am in the land of al-Sham, as God has prescribed for us to live for 7 years, so we see the sufferings of the people of al-Sham, sufferings under the shade of the hearts, for which the conscience breaks apart. And there is no power or force except in God the Lord of the Worlds.