HTS once again incurs the wrath of local citizens in the city of Idlib after arresting resident Ali Mubaid without charge.
The immediate reasons for the arrest of Ali Mubaid are as of yet unknown. Nevertheless, he is known to be affiliated with the rebel group Faylaq al-Sham, a rival to HTS in the Idlib region, and three of his brothers had been killed by regime forces at the fronts in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.
Protesters in Idlib deem his arrest to be arbitrary as the HTS’ affiliated “Salvation Government” has not provided a reasoning or justification for taking this measure.
“We have communicated with everyone who has contact with the HTS and everyone who has contact with the security forces and anyone who has contact with the [HTS leader] Jolani himself but all of them were unable and could not give us one piece of evidence on Ali Mubaid. Even the justice minister said that he did not commit any offence”, said Riyad Sami, a resident of Idlib.
Locals view the repressive actions taken by the HTS as reminiscent of the Syrian regime’s tactic of arbitrary imprisonment without trial, a facet of the political system that Syrian revolutionaries have been keen on rooting out since the start of the uprising in 2011.
“They do not allow us to see him or to appoint him a lawyer. We do not even know where he is. They do not differ from the regime”, said Ghaliya Mubaid, the sister of the detained Ali Mubaid.
Protests in support of Ali Mubaid also took place in the traditionally anti-HTS town of Atarib, which was occupied by the group in January 2019.
The ascendance of HTS in the Idlib region has led to the spread of its repressive policies, which have included the arrest of ordinary civilians, teachers and civil society activists who are seen to be in any way critical of HTS, leading to widespread protests against its rule and policies.