HTS blocks International aid for millions of Syrians in Idlib


Hayy'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the extremist rebel coalition that controls Syria's northwestern Idlib Province, is hindering the arrival of aid - all at the expense of up to 4 million people in the wider region.

As the influence of the extremist group Hayy’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) increases in the Greater Idlib region in northern Syria, it is imposing repressive policies against the local populations living under the group’s rule. In the most recent case, humanitarian aid that was being sent by organisations linked to the German and French Governments was prevented from reaching its targets.

The aid was aimed at providing medical care and support to local councils that have been financially and technically debilitated. With regards to healthcare, political and security instability is preventing clinics from providing their services efficiently to the public. Locals working in the health sector are calling for the depoliticisation of medical services and medical aid, deeming it to be a solely humanitarian concern rather than political.

The support isn’t enough, it’s only possible to continue for a month or a month and a half more”, said one unnamed man working in the health sector.

With the recent military victories recorded by the HTS against the other Syrian rebel groups, its political wing, the so-called Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), has spread its rule across the region. There are grave fears that this political entity will not cater to local needs, especially in a time of military tension both within the Greater Idlib region between rebel groups and external forces, such as the regime’s Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Several local residents have protested against HTS rule throughout the Greater Idlib region. Maa’rat al-Nu’man has been one of the most prominent hubs of anti-HTS sentiment in the region. The recent fall of Atarib came amidst local opposition to the group’s rule. Atarib was formerly an important base for expressions of protest against HTS rule, but the recent takeover has dampened the mood. Nevertheless, locals continue to express lament over the HTS’ presence in the town.