Home Investigative Reports Idlib: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Seizes Public and Private Properties

Idlib: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Seizes Public and Private Properties

This report lists the seizure operations between October 2018 and mid-January 2019

by wael.m
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Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)[1], an armed group, seized, looted and pillaged many public and private properties in the province of Idlib between October 2018 and mid-January 2019.

As soon as HTS captured the town of Jarjanaz on January 10, 2019, it confiscated over 20 houses, belonged to activists and civilians.[2]

On 14th January, HTS looted and pillaged equipment and supplies of the Jarjanaz-based health dispensary, though it was the only center in the town, provided health care to approximately 30,000 people.

Earlier, on December 4, 2018, HTS seized the mill in Ma’arat Mesreen in Idlib and expelled 30 of its workers. Besides, it confiscated $140,000 and 17m Syrian pounds from people trusted to keep the mill income.

On November 4, 2018, HTS seized the headquarter of the General Establishment for Cereals in the city of Idlib as well as its financial incomes, estimated about $123,168 and 11m Syrian pounds. Moreover, it dismissed 200 workers and employees, depriving them of their only source of survival. On October 16, 2018, HTS seized the silos of Ra’a in north Idlib, dismissed the workers and confiscated about 1000 tons of wheat, along with the silos financial incomes that estimated about $160,000.

According to STJ’s field researchers, HTS’s practices created outrage amongst the workers who became unemployed due to their dismissal and losing their only source of income. However, they kept silent fearful of arrest by the group. In September and October 2018, HTS seized several public properties in the province of Idlib, including the Saraqib- based grain silos. It also dismantled the train station that links Aleppo to Lattakia and Aleppo to Hama. In October 2018, HTS confiscated more than ten houses in Kafr Zita in north Hama. The houses were owned by people loyal to the Syrian government. It also confiscated the Education center as well as an emergency center used by the civil defense team. HTS provided no explicit reasons for the seizure.[3]

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[1] On January 28, 2017, several jihadist groups announced merger under the name Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The groups are: Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly al-Nusra Front, Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, Liwa al-Haq (the Truth Brigade), Jabhat Ansar al-Din, Jaysh al-Sunna, and Ansar al-Sham al-Islamiyya Movement. On the backdrop of recent confrontations between HTS and Ahrar al-Sham in north Syria on July 15, 2017, Nour al-Din al-Zenki split from HTS on July 20, 2017.

[2] In early January 2019, armed clashes began between HTS and the National Liberation Front. Several civilians were killed according to an STJ’s report entitled “8 Civilians Killed and 17 Others Injured in Clashes between Military Factions in Idlib and Aleppo”, https://stj-sy.org/en/view/1135

As a result of the clashes,  HTS captured all of Idlib province except the two cities of Ariha and Ma’arat al-Nu’man. HTS also militarily controlled the towns and cities in west Aleppo and north Hama.

[3]“Hama: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Seizes Houses and Public Buildings in Kafr Zita”, October 26, 2018, https://www.stj-sy.org/en/view/895.

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