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Terrorism

Tahrir al-Sham rounds up relief workers in Idlib

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo

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A Tahrir al-Sham tank rolls through the town of Maarat Misrin after the alliance seized control of the town on Thursday (March 1st). [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

The Tahrir al-Sham alliance has been rounding up relief and humanitarian activists who refuse to work with it and civilians who oppose it in areas of rural Idlib under its control, activists told Diyaruna.

The extremist alliance, which is dominated by the former al-Nusra Front, has been detaining people on a wide scale, said Idlib media activist Haisam al-Idlibi.

Tahrir al-Sham elements on Thursday (March 1st) detained a humanitarian activist in the city of Kafr Nabl, known for his total refusal to co-ordinate with the alliance in matters related to his relief and humanitarian activities, he told Diyaruna.

A day earlier, Tahrir al-Sham elements detained two activists with the Molham volunteering team in Idlib city, Mohamed Nour Tahhan and Suleiman Taleb, and seized a car belonging to another volunteers in Idlib, he said.

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Demonstrators take to the streets in  the Syrian town of Maarat Misrin to protest against Tahrir al-Sham the day before the alliance took control of the town. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

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A Tahrir al-Sham vehicle carrying a tank in seen in the main square of the city of Idlib. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

"This was part of an attempt to take sole control of relief work in order to distribute relief supplies according to its own lists, and to its loyalists in particular," al-Idlibi noted.

"It is not clear where the detainees are being held or what they have been charged with," he said, adding that civilians in several parts of Idlib city and province are among their number.

Battles continue to rage

Violent battles are still raging between Tahrir al-Sham and the Syrian Liberation Front (Hayaat Tahrir Syria), a newly formed alliance between Nureddine al-Zinki and Ahrar al-Sham, in several parts of rural Idlib and Hama, al-Idlibi said.

The two sides have been carrying out hit-and-run attacks against each other as each seeks to gain the dominant hand, he said.

There also have been reports that Tahrir al-Sham has been carrying out executions in the field of captured Syrian Liberation Front fighters, especially following the battle for Maarat Misrin, which fell to Tahrir al-Sham.

Meanwhile, popular resentment against Tahrir al-Sham is growing and anti-Tahrir al-Sham protests are still being held in towns and cities, al-Idlibi said.

These protests gathered steam after the alliance targeted a number of towns with direct shelling that killed or wounded a number of people and triggered a large wave of displacement to safer areas, he added.

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