Armed attack | HTS takes control over checkpoints of National Liberation Front near Saraqib city • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Armed attack | HTS takes control over checkpoints of National Liberation Front near Saraqib city

Idlib province: HTS security forces have attacked Al-Rabat checkpoints of the National Liberation Front, tens meters away from Turkish forces checkpoints, at the entrance to Saraqib city in Idlib countryside, to seize and control checkpoints of National Liberation Front and to set up new checkpoints in the area. Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham also managed to control both sides of the road by 400 metres.

It is worth noting that the National Liberation Front and Turkish forces control most of the checkpoints on the eastern Idlib countryside frontline, especially Saraqib, city.

Moreover, a member National Liberation Front was injured when HTS gunmen shot directly at his feet while he was at Al-Rabat checkpoint on Saraqib frontline.

On September 12, SOHR activists reported that the Syrian regime continued its propaganda about the decision of “settlement deals” which had been issued in early September. According to the new decision, a “reconciliation centre” was opened in Khan Shaykhoun city in the southern countryside of Idlib, so that displaced people in north Idlib, who desire to return to regime-controlled areas, can get permission to return to their houses.

On the other hand, regime government circulates fake reports about the return of the large number of displaced people to their houses in regime-controlled areas in Idlib. Ironically, the roofs of civilian houses in these areas had been demolished with the aim of stealing steel and iron used in the construction of houses; SOHR highlighted details of such incidents in earlier reports. In addition, regime forces looted the contents of those abandoned houses in the region.

According to SOHR sources, a small number of families has returned to the southern countryside of Idlib since the “settlement decision” came into force on September 4, where SOHR documented the return of only one batch of 20 families. This batch crossed into regime-controlled areas from SDF-controlled areas, via Al-Tayih crossing.

SOHR sources have also reported that most of the members of those families are elderly people, and they found out that their houses were emptied of all contents, while the roofs of the houses were demolished.

SOHR sources have confirmed that hundreds of thousands of civilians, who have been displaced to north Syria region due to the violent military ground and aerial operations by Russian and regime forces, are still living in camps which also suffer from an acute shortage of basic livelihood. However, most of those displaced people reject every decision excluding the withdrawal of regime forces from all areas they captured during the military campaign in 2019 and 2020.

Speaking to SOHR, a young man known by his initials as A. A. from west Hama countryside says, “we do not trust the Syrian regime, and we cannot return to south Idlib without a complete withdrawal of regime forces from all areas. If this demand is not fulfilled, we will stay in the camps, even if this situation lasts for years. The return to areas under the control of the Syrian regime means acquiescence to its tyranny and predominance, despite all sacrifices and losses which Syrians paid to enjoy freedom. Also, the return to regime-controlled areas confers legitimacy to the Syrian regime and ends the state of displacement in north Syria region; this, in turn, brings us back to the same situation before 2011. The number of those who have returned recently is too small compared to the number of displaced people in north Syria; not to mention millions of people who sought refuge in other countries.”

Recently, the Syrian regime opened a centre for “national reconciliation” in Khan Shaykhoun city in the southern countryside of Idlib with the aim of receiving applications provided by displaced people in north Idlib to strike reconciliation deals with the Syrian regime, in accordance to the “settlement decision” which grants amnesty to all security suspects, army defectors and those who skipped the mandatory army draft under pardon legislative decree no. 7.