Iraq News

Syrians call on Tahrir al-Sham to release activists

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo


Activist Yasser al-Salim, who was detained by Tahrir al-Sham after he called for Fuaa and Kafraya residents to be permitted to return to their hometowns. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

Syrian activists are calling on the extremist alliance Tahrir al-Sham to release two human rights activists who were detained in the Idlib province town of Kafr Nabl, which is part of the Maarrat al-Numan district.

A large number of Kafr Nabl residents and Syrian media and rights activists have demanded that Tahrir al-Sham release Yasser al-Salim and Abdul Hamid al-Bayoush, Idlib activist Haisam al-Idlibi told Diyaruna.

The two men were detained on Sunday (September 23rd) in their homes in Kafr Nabl by a number of Tahrir al-Sham elements, and were taken to the alliance's ill-reputed al-Iqab prison, al-Idlibi said.

Al-Salim had called for the return of the largely Shia residents of Fuaa and Kafraya to their hometowns, a move Tahrir al-Sham appears to have seen as a call for reconciliation with the Syrian regime, which it stringently rejects.


Yasser al-Salim and Abdul Hamid al-Bayoush hold a sign in support of detained civilians from Suweida during a demonstration in Kafr Nabl. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

After the conclusion of a lengthy siege in July, the residents of regime-held Fuaa and Kafraya were displaced -- transported to other parts of Syria as part of the ceasefire agreement struck between the regime and Tahrir al-Sham.

Al-Salim posted his call for co-existence on his personal Facebook page, for which he was viciously assailed by opposition hardliners, and was accused of working toward reconciliation with the regime.

This was despite his attempts to explain that he was referring to the civilian population only and not reconciliation with the regime.

A pattern of oppression

According to al-Idlibi, al-Salim and al-Bayoush also reportedly raised a sign during a Friday demonstration in Kafr Nabl demanding that the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) release a number of kidnapped civilians.

ISIS had abducted the Druze civilians in the city of Suweida and its environs.

Al-Salim has been detained by Tahrir al-Sham before, on more than one occasion, al-Idlibi said.

"He has been targeted for his moderate views, adherence to the principles of the Syrian revolution and his rejection of the hegemony of extremists, including Tahrir al-Sham, which has strained his relationship with the group," he said.

The current charge levied against him -- seeking to achieve reconciliation with the regime -- could keep him detained for a long time or get him flogged as punishment, al-Idlibi said.

This is part of an ongoing pattern, in which Tahrir al-Sham has for some time been going after those who advocate reconciliation with the regime, he added.

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