Regarding HTS incursion into US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said during a press briefing yesterday:
HTS occupied the north Syrian town of Afrin last week. Turkish forces intervened and HTS was made to go back to Idlib. However the matter has not been closed. US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, was asked: “So you took issue with Tahrir al-Sham being in control of Afrin in Syria. Now they’re supposedly withdrawn from the city, but some reports indicate – including some reports from conflict monetary organizations and – claim that they haven’t really withdrawn from the city. It’s just they’ve switched their flags from their flag to some other groups. What’s your current understanding of the – Tahrir al-Sham’s control of Afrin?
MR PRICE: I’m not in a position to offer a more updated assessment beyond what we’ve said (inaudible). It’s something we monitor very closely, but I just don’t have an updated assessment to offer today.
QUESTION: Apart from just calling for them to leave the city, did you have any other tools to get them out of the city?
MR PRICE: This is something that we’ve been focused on with partners in the region. Of course, instability in Syria, the ability of extremist groups, of terrorist groups to use Syrian territory to form a base, to plot, that is of concern to all of us. We have a range of tools and we’ll continue to calibrate those tools appropriately.’’
The groups Al Hamzaat, headed by Saif Abu Bakr and Sulayman Shah under the leadership of Abu ’Amsha (Muhammad Jasim) aided and abetted Jolani in his forces when they entered into the Turkish backed areas and the fighting began.
It is not clear if the US will take any action at this time. There is much speculation that both Abu ‘Amshaat and Saif Abu Bakr will be put on the US sanctions list as a result of assisting Abu Muhammad Jolani. On May 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of State designated Jolani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.