Human Rights

HTS brutally arrests civilians and teachers in Saraqib, Idlib


Hayy'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) continues its crackdown across Idlib, as the group close a girls' secondary school in Saraqib and arrest teachers.

The repressive policies of the Hayy’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the main rebel faction operating across Idlib Province, have induced the indignation of the local population in the town of Saraqib, just to the east of Idlib City.

The imprisonment of local civilians and teachers in Saraqib has led to a strong response from local residents. The school’s students, teachers, and other civilians carried out a sit-in demanding that the HTS-affiliated Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), which operates in Idlib, rescind its decision and leave the school to the teachers and the administration. According to Opposition media, the detainees include Professor Anas Barish, Ahmed Abdul Karim Hussein, Manar Dandal, Khalid Darwish, and the father of one of the students Abdul Karim Talawi.

These arrests represent the continuation of oppressive measures adopted by the HTS to quell any form of civil disagreement with the policies of the SSG.

The Idlib region has recently witnessed a number of high-profile assassinations. Prime among them were the assassinations of veteran activists Raed Fares and Hammud Junayd by unknown gunmen in the Kafr Nabl town centre. Fares was one of the most renowned non-violent civil society activists in Syria and responsible for the town’s protest movement that gained iconic status due to combining the human tragedy of the war with biting humour. Many Opposition activists have blamed HTS for his killing due to Fares recently criticising the group.

A number of Idlib City Council members have had their homes raided and were then arrested by the group.

In addition, the HTS has threatened to confiscate properties belonging to the local Christian population in Idlib and handing them over to the SSG, an act which has also provoked protests by local residents in the city.

Protests against the rule of the HTS in Idlib have been prevalent ever since the group took control of the city and other parts of the province.