Following criticism against “Al-Julani” | Jisr Al-Shughour administration explains circumstances of public celebrations in Al-Ya’qoubiyah church
Idlib province: SOHR sources have reported that Jisr Al-Shughour administration which is affiliated to the “Salvation Government” has issued a statement explaining the circumstances of celebrations in in Al-Ya’qoubiyah church in the western countryside of Idlib. The statement, which comes a few days after Christian residents publicly celebrated the feast of St. Anna in the Armenian Church in the village for the first time in nearly a decade, under protection by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham, reads, “the church was established hundreds of years ago, and it was closed during regime control in 2012, after the displacement of residents from the region.
We consider the residents of these towns as a part of our society and they have the rights to live and practice their business and activities since the beginning of the Revolution.
The reopening of the church coincided with a Christian anniversary, while some individuals posted pictures of the celebrations on media without coordination.
Jisr Al-Shughour administration has tracked that issue, met with dignitaries from that town and stressed on complying with the general policy.”
SOHR sources have reported that extremist jihadists and Islamist individuals directed strong criticism against Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham for issuing such explanations.
In late August, SOHR sources reported that Christian residents of Al-Ya’qoupiyah village in Jisr Al-Shughour countryside in western Idlib celebrated the feast of St. Anna in the Armenian Church in the village. The village’s Christian residents celebrated publicly and rang the church’s bells for the first time in nearly a decade. This comes as a part of Al-Julani’ efforts gain the international community’s respect through portraying himself as a “defender” of religious minorities in areas under it control, at the suggestion of the Turkish government.
According to SOHR sources HTS has recently expelled families of jihadists and members of the Turkestani Islamic Party from the church and monastery in the northern countryside of Jisr Al-Sughour and handed the buildings over to Christian clergymen, before rehabilitating the Armenian church for holding the celebration, which was held under strict protection by HTS “general security service.”
On July 20, SOHR activists reported that the leader of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham, Abu Muhammad Al-Julani, visited the villages of Al-Quniyyah, Al-Jadidah and Al-Yaqoubiyah, mostly inhabited by Christian citizens in the western countryside of Jisr Al-Shughour.
Al-Julani met with the residents in these villages, where they discussed the situation of their villages and the region in general.
This coincided with ongoing efforts by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham’s leader, Abu Muhammad Al-Julani, to portray himself as a civilian close to the people and ongoing hidden war against hard-line Syrian and non-Syrian jihadists in areas under HTS control in north-western Syria.