Local residents of Idlib city have demonstrated against the HTS' decision to confiscate property left behind by Christians who were displaced from the region.
The rebel group Hayy’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) released a statement in which it asserted that it had the right to take ownership and dispose of any property that it had seized as part of its “spoils of war”. This included property that belongs to the Christian segment of society in Idlib.
Despite the fact that many of the Christians of Idlib have fled throughout the civil conflict, local residents took to the streets to demonstrate against HTS’ repressive and discriminatory measures. The Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), which is mainly made up of HTS-aligned members, has sought to stifle the diversity of the population that is currently under its control. Local residents saw the HTS’ measures not only as an affront to the Christians, but as a threat to the way of life of the whole population.
“Throughout our lives, we lived in peace with our Christian brothers and there are laws that protect them”, affirmed one of the protesters in Idlib.
There are also reports stating that the HTS has threatened Christians in Idlib to leave their homes. Dar al-Ifta in Egypt, the country’s highest Islamic body that aims to communicate proper Islamic practices to religious followers, has severely condemned the HTS’ actions.
The HTS decision to confiscate property belonging to local Christians is only one in a series of gross violations committed by the group in recent days. Many Opposition activists have recently blamed the HTS for the assassination of Raed Fares, who was one of the most renowned non-violent civil society activists in Syria and responsible for Idlib’s protest movement that gained iconic status.
The protest movement against the HTS has been prevalent and consistent throughout the Idlib Province as a large part of the local population consider the group’s actions and behaviour to run counter to the democratic ideals of the “Syrian revolution”.