HTS practices that are aimed at crippling life in Idlib and its countryside on the pretense of implementation of Sharia law has reached an intolerable level. The extremist organization has recently began pursuing a strategy similar to that pursued by Daesh by the formation of departments for paralyzing life.
Local sources indicated to Idlib24 that the department of ‘Sawaid Al-Khayr’ has carried out a series of systematic human rights violations in Idlib city in order to obstruct daily activities of civilians. This includes their prevention of male and female civilians from mixing in buses on the pretense that it goes against Sharia. Furthermore, they have even arrested a number of bus drivers and imposed an expensive fee on them. A local source stated that HTS is trying to stop the project of internal transport and expelling the organization supporting it (Bnafsaj organization) from Idlib. This HTS move comes in light of its excessive attempts to stop and destroy all projects of the civil society and its activities. In addition, HTS is also preventing civilians from applying window tint to their cars, which can be explained by the fact that HTS is afraid of the increasing assassination operations against its fighters and commanders whose perpetrators have not been identified until now.
On the other hand, the HTS-linked Salvation Government issued a decision which forces the owners of cars to regulate their vehicles at SEG-affiliated centers, warning the violators of severe consequences.
Swaid Al-Khayr department, HTS Hisbah, has increased its activities against commercial shops. It has conducted many raids on shops and confiscated and destroyed quantities of cigarettes in Idlib city. The department also imposed on the owners of clothing stores to cover the heads of their mannequins on the pretense that the latter might seduce people, and forced those who could not cover them to do so. But, the owners removed the cover from their mannequins and described the decision as silly and funny.
HTS life-crippling decisions in Idlib city also targeted the owners of sport stores and barbers, whom they prevented from doing fashion hairstyles. HTS has closed many barber shops and sport stores after their owners did not adhere to its decision. However, HTS is now deleting with its policy in a cautious manner because of the civil resistance against it.
Sawaid Al-Khayr is HTS hisbah office, or religious police. Its name was changed last year after the formation of the salvation government. The office consists of men and women. HTS is trying to present its office as merely a group of civilian volunteers to implement Sharia law.