Violent Clashes Erupt in Idlib City: Protest Encampment Dismantled

Credit: (Sham News Agency)

Tensions escalated into violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement in Idlib City yesterday culminating in the dismantling of a protest encampment, authorities confirmed. According to eyewitnesses, the initial protest was intended to address grievances regarding the treatment of Egyptian detainees.

Abu Mughira al-Masri, an HTS member and protest participant, expressed frustration over the situation, explaining that the Egyptian delegation had met with the Minister of Justice, Sheikh Abbas, and Sheikh Mazhar Weiss and completed a preliminary stage of negotiations where some of their demands were met.

Afterward, says Masri, “some third parties took advantage of the situation and entered”. He expressed concern over the chaos that ensued following the arrival of other elements, “We are not satisfied with what happened from the other parties, whether Hizbul Tahrir or any other side that wants to play with the security of the liberated areas.” Masri added: “We, as emigrants, are not satisfied with the situation. We want the security of the liberated areas.”

Haider Gharir, a notable figure from the local community, emphasized the responsibility of the people of Idlib to advocate for the protesters’ legitimate demands. “Their legitimate demands are our respected responsibility,” Gharir stated, underscoring the community’s commitment to supporting just causes.

However, the peaceful dialogue quickly devolved into chaos as clashes erupted between protesters and representatives from the neighborhood which the encampment had encroached upon. Witnesses recounted attempts by community leaders to mediate the dispute, only to face hostility from some demonstrators. “They attacked the delegation, they started calling them Shabiha (criminal militias loyal to the Assad family) … even though the delegation is coming to help them,” lamented one witness, highlighting the breakdown in communication.

Said Abu Ahmad, one of the representatives, said that among the complaints of the people were that people were prevented from sleeping at night due to the noise of the demonstrators at all hours, and that their encampment blocked the road, preventing people from entering and leaving their neighborhood, shops from conducting business, and were close to the gates of two schools reserved for women.

The situation worsened when law enforcement intervened to quell the unrest. Minister of the Interior, Muhammad Abdulrahman, condemned the violence, affirming the government’s commitment to maintaining public order. “We have directed police officers to exercise restraint and secure demonstrations based on our duty to protect our people.”

“However,” Abdulrahman declared, “that group which has exceeded the bounds of peaceful demonstration and is disrupting public peace and livelihoods… through their marches, riots, verbal abuse, and disturbance of the people, and by attempting to sabotage the achievements of liberation through their negative demonstrations—has crossed a line.” He noted that there are elements seemingly bent on incitement rather than resolution, pointing to “the attacks on several police stations and prisons, direct shooting at police officers, and assaults on them and their families, involving beatings and insults, with the intent of provocation and fueling strife.”

After the police forces dispersed the demonstration in Idlib city, troops from the Fathul Mubeen military operations room were mobilized and deployed to different locations in the liberated areas to prevent escalation. Nevertheless, smaller local protests continued in various villages and towns.


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