Students in Idlib protest HTS' decision to close down their university

Students from the town of al-Dana, which is located in the north of Syria’s Idlib Province, have protested the decision to close their university.

The university, which is a Free Aleppo-affiliated institution, was closed down by Dr Ibrahim al-Hamoud, the president of the of the Free Aleppo University.

Dr Hamoud was appointed as president by the Syrian Salvation Government, which is the government backed by Hayy’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib.

Many students have protested for days, calling on the Salvation Government not to politicise their education and exploit the ‘fight against corruption’ in order to control the Free Aleppo University and its institutions. Others have questioned the decision to close the university given that the town is far from the ongoing fighting in the southeast of the province.

According to reports on the ground, some students were also fired upon by HTS militants when they were protesting.

“We are not afraid of them,” began one woman. “I want to send a letter to Ibrahim al-Hammoud, who said in an interview yesterday that he did not prevent us from entering universities. I say to him no, you have prevented us, and you have pointed your weapons against us.”

As a result of this, and in defiance of the Salvation Government’s decision, classes have been held outside, with students determined to continue their studies.

“Today we want to prove that we want to continue education and we will never stop. We will be here today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow and we will continue to attend,” said another student. “In this tent, which we set up today, we decided to even attend in the street.”

While protests continue in the north of Idlib, the fighting remains intense between rebel groups, including the HTS, and the Syrian army in the southeast of the province.

Over the past few days, the Syrian army has captured numerous villages in an attempt to take the town of Abu al-Duhur and its airbase. However, the resulting fighting has left many villages destroyed and displaced tens of thousands internally inside Idlib Province.