Iraq News

Tahrir al-Sham expels displaced Ghouta families from their homes in Idlib

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo

Displaced families who were expelled from their homes in Idlib's Fuaa by Tahrir al-Sham have staged protests against the group. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

Displaced families who were expelled from their homes in Idlib's Fuaa by Tahrir al-Sham have staged protests against the group. [Photo courtesy of Haisam al-Idlibi]

Tahrir al-Sham has expelled civilians displaced from Syria's Eastern Ghouta from houses they were occupying in northern rural Idlib in order to house its own elements and their families, local activist Haisam al-Idlibi told Diyaruna Wednesday (December 19th).

"They were violently evacuated and were not given advance notice or a deadline to vacate the houses," he said.

Armed groups affiliated with Tahrir al-Sham stormed Fuaa and evacuated families from the houses where they had been staying since they were displaced under the ceasefire agreement struck with the regime in March, he said.

Hundreds of residents at the time opted to leave al-Ghouta toward northern Syria.

"Many families spent the night out in the open, facing the rain and bitter cold," said al-Idlibi.

But protests and demonstrations that broke Tuesday night prompted Tahrir al-Sham to give the remaining families a week to vacate the houses "to contain the residents’ anger", he said.

"The families that were kicked out of their houses include opposition figures who belong to groups opposed to Tahrir al-Sham," he said, noting that they have been expressing their opposition to the group since their arrival in the region on account of its practices and poor treatment of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Housing crisis in Idlib

These families "have become homeless as there are no vacant houses in northern [Syria], and in Idlib in particular," he said.

The housing crisis has been exacerbated by the new wave of displacement from areas in rural Idlib that have come under renewed regime shelling and sniper fire, said al-Idlibi.

He quoted eye witnesses as saying that the vacated houses will be assigned by Tahrir al-Sham to its elements.

The extremist alliance "is trying to devote the entire town of Fuaa exclusively to its elements, particularly non-Arab nationals", he added.

Other opposition groups in Fuaa had previously asked the IDPs to vacate their houses but relented due to the lack of alternative housing, he said.

High tensions prevail in the town, he said, adding that "the IDPs are determined not to leave Fuaa in an attempt to have [Tahrir al-Sham's] decision reversed and be allowed to return to their homes", he said.

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What, do those families need to be told to head for the exit corridors created by the SAA and allies, so they can get out and survive? Anyone still saying that the civilians in Idlib are there by choice is at the least being disingenuous or at worse for some nefarious reason want them to stay there and maybe for many to die there. "Get Up and Get Out" of Idlib Syrian and other civilians, otherwise Turkey and that so-called western coalition will continue using you as shields for its opposition/rebel/jihadist/terrorist proxies in Idlib. And the Kurds had best cut a deal with the Syrian government now, while they stand a chance of getting some concessions. Because if Trump removes US Troops from Syria, the Kurds will loose all the non-Kurdish territory the US helped them take and thereby, all their leverage against the Syrian government. And if Trump doesn't remove the troops, he won't win re-election. There is one person who is already primed to defeat Trump in the 2020 election and that's Bernie Sanders and he's already stated that he would remove US forces from Syria and discontinue the current U.S. foreign policy of unilateral military engagement in the middle east, mostly for regime change.