The Arrests were for Lowering Down its Flag

On the grounds of lowering down the flag of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)[1] in Ad Dana town, Idlib countryside, during a demonstration, three local activists were arrested on Sep. 18, 2018. 

Someone close to the activists, asked for anonymity for security purposes, testified to STJ on Sep. 20, 2018:
"During a demonstration staged in Ad Dana on Friday Sep. 14, 2018, an argument arose between three civilian men who were Othman Yahiya, Ahmad Aref Najjar and Fadel al-Qesh and HTS agents when the men tried to lower HTS flags rose by the latter. Four days later, HTS agents stormed Othman’s store and asked him to go with them but he refused so they stated firing in the air and rioting. Consequently, the three youths were arrested."

HTS took the three men to one of its posts where it issued them warnings and released only Fadel al-Qash vowing to release the two others later as requested by the local[2] and consultation[3] councils, the source added.

HTS had already arrested local and media activists in Aleppo and Idlib:
As on April 26, 2018, Ahmad al-Akhras and Rami Raslan were reported held in Idlib for unauthorized filming and revolutionary activities. Mohammed Fadl al-Janodi was arrested from a camp in west Idlib also for unauthorized filming on June 24, 2018.

While others were arrested on unknown charges like Marwan al-Hamid, who was captured on Sep. 2, 2018 and Abdul-Jabbar at-Tamer on Aug. 26, 2018.

On December 9, 2018, HTS arrested four activists in Madaya, who used to document the town peploe’s sufferings during the period of seige which was imposed by the pro-government forces.  HTS freed three of the activists while Amjad al-Maleh is unaccounted for.[4]


 


[1] On January 28, 2017, several jihadist factions in northern Syria announced the merger under the name “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-HTS”, they are: Fateh al-Sham Front- formerly al-Nusra Front, Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, Liwaa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Din Front, Jaysh al-Sunna, and Ansar al-Sham al-Islamiyyah. However, at the background of the recent outbreak of confrontations between HTS and Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya in the north of Syria on July 15, 2017, Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement announced its separation from HTS on July 20, 2017.

[2] The local council in Ad Dana is affiliated to the Syrian Interim Government of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and  Opposition Forces.

[3] HTS elected the consultation council members by acclamation and they participate in functioning the town.

[4] “No Word on the Four Activists of Madaya”, STJ, Jan. 21, 2018, https://www.stj-sy.com/en/view/390

"Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Release the Third Activist of Madaya ", STJ, June 23, 2018, https://www.stj-sy.com/en/view/588.

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Arbitrary Detention Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) Idlib

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