On 6 January 2017, pro-al-Qaeda channels distributed a statement, with the picture above, written by Abu Mahmud al-Filistini.1 Abu Mahmud writes of a young jihadist, Abd al-Rahman, who had, after joining the Islamic State (IS), not been fully seduced by their ideology and had maintained contact with Abu Mahmud. At a certain point, however, Abd al-Rahman accepted IS’s ideology and recently killed himself in a suicide bombing against insurgent forces in Syria. It is not clear whether the insurgents referred to are rebels or Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS), al-Qaeda’s rebranded Syrian branch, which was until recently known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The statement is reproduced below with some minor editions, for the sake of clarity, to transliterations and punctuation.
This boy, I advised him not to join the Islamic State because he will inevitably kill Muslims. He said he would not, but today he blew himself up to kill Muslims around Marea. He told me that he was going to join ISIS with Umar al-Sayf, commander of the Green Battalion,2 and that he would not fight Muslims, except the Nusayriyyah [Alawis, i.e. Assad’s regime] and the PKK. I said to him, “you will,” because entanglement is their method.
He stayed in contact with me, and he would repeatedly reject the wrongdoings he used to see from ISIS, until he accepted the possibility of women migrating without the permission of their husband. He would tell me that ISIS was not a Caliphate on the Prophetic methodology, and he would acknowledge the authoritarian control of officers and security personal, he would also reject the takfir [excommunication] on Jabhat al-Nusra. But the entanglement took effect on him as his piety gradually changed to Khawarijism, he started to excuse the [use of] takfir on Jabhat al-Nusra, describing it as a mere interpretative judgment which he did not share.
He then started to accept the validity of the verdict for women to migrate without the permission of their family and husband and without a Mahram. He then became a savage Khariji. So I cut every contact with him, even though I loved him after getting to know him.
And here he is today blowing himself up among Muslims, the Khawarij mentality did not only push him to kill Muslims but he even blew himself up. But all praises are due to Allah: the bomb only killed him, as the witnessing brothers have told to me.
He was an eager young man who loved gaining knowledge, but associating with the deviant Umar al-Sayf made him join ISIS with him, it really saddens me that he ended up as a suicidal Khariji. From a student of knowledge in whom you would see a future, to an exploding human bomb which he wanted to detonate among Muslims, but Allah protected them and he only killed himself. What a waste.
It saddens me to see these youth getting burned in offshoot battles. Oh Allah, take revenge on the deviant [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi [real name: Ibrahim al-Badri], the enemy of Allah who turned these youth from supporters of their umma [Muslim community] to human bombs which kill the umma. Oh Allah, deal with the deviant criminal Umar al-Sayf. Oh Allah, show us your astonishing power in him. Oh Allah, deal with Umar al-Sayf and kill him in the worst way possible, because he is the one who deceived this boy.
Umar al-Sayf is now sidelined by ISIS and he has no value for them, he is a servant of the Ba’ath officers. He is responsible for this boy who wanted to kill Muslims, and the blood of every Muslim killed by those who were deceived in this way. Oh Allah, take revenge on Umar al-Sayf.
We said to Abd al-Rahman, “You will kill Muslims because extremism penetrates the heart”. I could not hide my sorrow to Abd al-Rahman, but my sorrow now that he has died as a Khariji who killed himself and tried to kill Muslims is even bigger. I tried to rescue him and I presented him the evidences. Now Abd al-Rahman, you will reap what you have sown, now you are between the Hands of Allah. So what did the enemy of Allah, al-Baghdadi, and the thug, [Abu Muhammad] al-Adnani [real name: Taha Falaha], and the criminal Umar al-Sayf benefit you, oh Abd al-Rahman? Would it have harmed you if you blew yourself up among the PKK or the Nusayriyyah? But the Khawarijism insisted on killing Muslims. Oh Allah, take revenge on Umar al-Sayf.
And all praises are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds and peace and blessing be upon the most noble of Prophets and Messengers.
 Abu Mahmud al-Filistini is a jihadi ideologue living in London who favours al-Qaeda.
 The Green Battalion was one of the single-nationality (in this case Saudi) jihadi-salafist insurgent groups formed in Syria in 2013 (August, in the case of the Green Battalion) to maintain independence as the schism between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State unfolded. The independence of a lot of these factions was actually fictitious—many favoured al-Qaeda and have now merged with JFS, including the Green Battalion itself. Having emerged around Damascus, the Green Battalion moved into east Qalamun in November 2013 and even showed up in Aleppo around the Kuweris airbase. On 3 October 2014, the Green Battalion joined Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa-Ansar (JMA), which had by then clarified its alliance with al-Qaeda—the former JMA commander Tarkhan Batirashvili (Abu Umar al-Shishani) having left to join IS with a detachment of loyalists, likely including Mohammed Emwazi. JMA formally merged with JFS—then-al-Nusra—on 22 September 2015.