Few days ago, The Nusra Front, the HTS, arrested two civilians, ‘Fajr Barhum Al Taata’ and ‘Karmu Mahmud Al Abdullah Al Taatat’, in the Kafr Nubl town in rural Idlib during a protest that was held by the residents of the town against the extreme and unbearable intervention of the HTS in all aspects of the affairs of civilians and its attempts to control the economic and the daily incomes of the population. In addition, the civilians had already prevented HTS affiliates from entering a mosque in the town as part of their ongoing protest against the extreme religious ideology of its affiliates which go against the moderate Islamic teachings they are familiar with.
The disputes between the residents of the Kafr Nubl town, and Idlib in general, and the HTS are rooted in the obvious occupational strategy that is being adopted by the Qaeda-affiliated HTS in the region. The latter continues carrying out more human rights violations and atrocities with the aim of controlling all parts of the administration of the region by seizing public facilities and means of productions, which is the case in the town of Kafr Nbul. Several months ago, the HTS seized control over the automatic oven in the town; one of the main sources providing bread to the people which was under the control of a local council sponsored by international organizations providing the oven with flour, according to a private Idlib24 source.
The source also confirmed that the HTS pressured the local council to sign a document which clarifies that the oven was still being administered by it, six months after the seizure of the oven and the expelling of the council from it. This was a part of an attempt to trick the two organizations sponsoring the oven, who had already sent two of their representatives to check on the situation of it in order to renew their contract of providing the oven with 120 tons of flour each month. After the council refused to sign the document, the HTS threatened its members, which forced them to sign it in order to continue and preserve the activities of the oven for being crucial to the needs of civilians who are facing siege and unemployment.
When the council was about to finish its yearly sessions, the HTS attempted to form a local council that would be linked with it and would follow its orders. However, the residents of the town boycotted the elections, which made it difficult for the HTS to hold a conference for the election of a committee that would elect the members of an HTS-linked council. Since then, the attempts of the HTS to form a council have gone to no avail.
It seems that the civilians of the Kafr Nubl town are aware enough of the HTS attempts and this is why they have decided to counter it by civil means. They have carried out a series of protests against it and have isolated many HTS fighters and commanders. They are doing this with the aim of standing in the way of the HTS who is trying to control their life and fate. However, since the seizure of the oven, the HTS has tried to suppress the voices of the civilians by a series of violations, including the arrest of media activists, civilians, seizure of offices and civil and media equipment. It is still using force as a mean to eliminate any dissident voice standing in its way, be it a civilian or a militant, as it had already did with the Ahrar Al Sham whom the HTS could defeat and expel most of its factions from most of the Idlib countryside and western Aleppo.