Tahrir al-Sham attacks protesters in Idlib

Elements from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham chase protesters in Binnish city, east of Idlib - May 17, 2024 (Mohammed Haj Kadour/Facebook)

Elements from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham chase protesters in Binnish city, east of Idlib - May 17, 2024 (Mohammed Haj Kadour/Facebook)


Members affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) attacked protesters in various areas of Idlib, during their demands for the overthrow of the faction leader, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, and set up military checkpoints to prevent access to Idlib.

Enab Baladi’s correspondents in Idlib stated that protests broke out after Friday prayers today, May 17, in central Idlib and the towns of Binnish, Salqin, al-Atarib, Abyeen Samaan, Kafr Takharim, Hazzano, and Jisr al-Shughour.

The protesters demanded the fall of al-Jolani, the rejection of the monopolization of decision-making, the implementation of meaningful rather than superficial reforms, the release of all detainees, the removal of the military from civil affairs management, and the withdrawal of threats of “weapons and chaos” against demonstrators.

Tahrir al-Sham deployed military and security forces on main roads, major roundabouts, and cities, and set up barriers on the Binnish-Idlib road, to prevent protesters from reaching the city center.

Security elements, armed with batons, attacked protesters in Jisr al-Shughour in western Idlib’s countryside, and fired shots into the air, according to local sources for Enab Baladi and circulated video recordings.

Sheikh Fajr Khadurah (Abu al-Faruq) from Jisr al-Shughour appeared in a recorded video, stating that elements belonging to the General Security Service had assaulted him and his son while they were going to pray, with threats against joining the protests.

Photographer Omar Haj Kadour reported that cases of suffocation occurred among protesters in the city of Binnish due to clashes with stones between protesters and forces affiliated with Tahrir al-Sham.

Neither Tahrir al-Sham nor the Ministry of Interior in the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) issued any clarification, while channels close to Tahrir al-Sham reported that protesters had assaulted the military wing fighters on the outskirts of Idlib city by beating and throwing stones, with more than six injuries, some serious.

Elements from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham chase protesters in Binnish city, east of Idlib - May 17, 2024 (Mohammed Haj Kadour/Facebook)

Elements from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham chase protesters in Binnish city, east of Idlib – May 17, 2024 (Mohammed Haj Kadour/Facebook)

In another development dated May 15, al-Jolani claimed that most of the protesters’ demands had been met in the area, but some remained unaddressed, suggesting that the demands had deviated from their real course and turned into a disruption of public interests, warning the protesters.

He added that Tahrir al-Sham had previously warned against any interference with public interests and rules as “crossing red lines,” stating that the authorities would take action against such matters, noting that Idlib had entered a new phase, where it must “return to normalcy,” and that the time for demands had ended, and would not allow a return to a state of chaos and fragmentation, in his expression.

On May 14, an incident occurred where members affiliated with Tahrir al-Sham attacked protesters with hands and batons in a protest tent in the center of Idlib city, firing into the air and dismantling the tent.

The Ministry of Interior in the Salvation Government commented that the assault began from the sit-in protesters against local dignitaries, followed by intervention by the General Security Service.

Since February 26, Tahrir al-Sham has faced a peaceful movement and protests from civilians, activists, military personnel, and Islamic scholars, demanding the overthrow of al-Jolani, rejecting the monopolization of decision-making and the unilateral control of authority.

The protests were met with promises of reforms and intensive meetings involving al-Jolani, the Salvation Government, and the Shura Council, including general amnesty for detainees with conditions and exceptions, the formation of committees to hear the concerns of the locals, cancellation of building fees, and partial exemptions based on conditions.


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