Syrian jihadist group in Idlib replaces safety squad with ‘ethical police’

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has ended the work of Al-Falah equipment, which it launched in May 2020 as a part of the non secular police equipment — Hisbah — that it established in 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sept. 3.

Al-Falah equipment is tasked with monitoring markets and forbidding the blending of women and men amongst different features, to impose its management over the smallest particulars of the folks’s each day lives. This equipment continued to harass the inhabitants till it was just lately suspended, following common protests in opposition to it for interfering within the folks’s private lives and imposing many restrictions on them.

According to an analytical studying ready by the Istanbul-based Jusoor Center for Studies, Al-Falah equipment consists of a number of places of work: Women’s Patrols Office, Mohtasiboun, Executive Force, Judicial Office and Complaints and Follow-up Office. Its members have absolute authority, comparable to arresting and holding perpetrators of authorized violations accountable, and its actions vary from advising to utilizing direct drive beneath the precept of “the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.” 

One of Al-Falah’s most outstanding duties is to stop women and men from mixing in public locations by erecting management factors on college campuses and in parks, stopping males from promoting girls’s garments, banning the show of mannequins at outlets, monitoring wedding ceremony halls and banning music and smoking. In addition, it’s identified to intrude with girls’s clothes and niknaks and forcing humanitarian organizations to separate their workers by gender.

The director of public relations in HTS’ affiliated salvation authorities, Mulham al-Ahmad, advised Al-Monitor, “In conjunction with terminating the work of Al-Falah, HTS started forming an alternative apparatus under the name of the ‘moral police.’ It will be affiliated with the salvation government’s police institutions, and its tasks will be limited compared to Al-Falah’s.”

He famous, “It will focus on moral issues and refrain from interfering in the details of the lives of civilians. It will have a civilian capacity to solve conflicts within the community, which is part of the salvation government’s measures to govern various fields in the areas under its control. Al-Falah has played its role throughout the last phase. Now, these measures are in accordance with the new plan drawn up by HTS.”

Ending Al-Falah’s work comes as a part of a collection of modifications that HTS is steadily making throughout the framework of opening up to the skin world and advertising itself as a reliable opposition group and ruler of Idlib, with whom partnerships and understandings will be constructed.

However, it appears that evidently HTS is compelled to type the ethical police in an effort to fulfill the extremist present inside it, which doesn’t settle for many of those new modifications. 

Muhammed el-Sukkeri, a researcher on the Jusoor Center for Studies, advised Al-Monitor, “HTS focuses on rearranging its house through its government institutions and is working in an organized manner because it realizes that its militaristic character and the way it manages Idlib according to its ideologies could never allow it to make it on the regional and international scene.”

He mentioned, “HTS has thus started paying more attention to its civilian authority in an attempt to find tools to help deal with the international community, especially after bringing in aid, which is an important step for HTS.”

Sukkeri famous, “HTS’ desire to be part of the political process — to have a foothold in the future Syria and to enter the Syrian parliament — prompted it to reconsider its previous policy and work to showcase itself as a civilian authority, so as to persuade the West to allow it to play its role and represent Idlib. However, ending the work of Al-Falah and forming the moral police can be a mere change of name.”

The Hisbah apparatuses have a protracted document of violations in opposition to civilians, most notably the assaults on women within the Idlib metropolis market in June 2017. In addition, a feminine preacher as soon as beat up the director of exams at Idlib University as a result of a dispute over her outfit. Bus drivers affiliated with the  nongovernmental Violet Organization have been arrested, and lecturers and college students of Al-Orouba High School, the Pythagoras Institute and the Center for Development and Technology have been crushed up, all beneath the pretext of women and men mixing. These apparatuses have additionally carried out floggings, in opposition to the perpetrators of Sharia violations.

The chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Fadel Abdul Ghany, condemned the extremist practices of the Hisbah equipment in Idlib.

“These apparatuses impose restrictions on the population in the areas under their control, interfering in personal affairs and freedoms, according to their hard-line ideology. They beat up civilians, arrest them and force violators to pay fines. They violate basic rights provided by international human rights laws,” he advised Al-Monitor.

He added, “Through these apparatuses, HTS is trying to control society to fully comply with its ideology. The international community should help Syrian society get rid of extremist organizations by taking serious steps according to a specific and strict timetable to achieve a political transition toward democracy that guarantees stability and human rights.”

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