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Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has denied links to a gruesome video exposing child recruitment in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The video, which surfaced on several social media platforms on March 31, shows HTS militant training minors on combat operations. The harsh training, which was shot in a dramatic style, included the use of live fire.
The video, dubbed a “Generation of Conquerors,” was not shared by HTS’ official news agency, Iba’a. However, it was attributed to the terrorist group.
On April 1, Taqi al-Din al-Omar, HTS public affairs official, denied to Enab Baladi that the group was behind the shocking video.
“There is no validity to the recruitment of minors in the ranks of HTS or any other faction of the revolution,” al-Omar said, adding that HTS is currently investigating the video.
Al-Omar’s attempt to deny HTS responsibility for the video were quickly foiled by activists, who affirmed that the group was indeed behind the gruesome footage. The activists noted that the up-armored vehicle seen in the video is of the same type made and used by HTS.
In fact, the very same vehicle, which is dubbed “al-Buraq” and carries the serial number “240,” was spotted just last year with HTS militants.
Found a photo from the same angle, I can now confirm this is the exact same vehicle seen with HTS before. This video was indeed made by HTS, which is lying to the face to those who chose to believe it. pic.twitter.com/G5Uh4bxQWw
— Within Syria (@WithinSyriaBlog) April 1, 2021
Despite HTS commitment to its radical ideology and practices, serious attempts to whitewash the terrorist group have been ongoing since at least 2017.
HTS is not hiding its ugly face. The recruitment of children is only one of many ways in which the group violates the international humanitarian law on a daily basis. The group is facing very little, if any criticism from the mainstream media.
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