The militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is now in control of Idlib province and the neighbouring Aleppo countryside, following days of fierce fighting with the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front—a coalition of rebel groups in the northwest. Largely abandoned by Turkey, the Front has agreed to sign over all its territories to HTS, a former affiliate of Al Qaeda. Read more
Idlib Lives is a project from the human rights organisations The Syria Campaign and Peace Direct in partnership with Idlib’s brave and life-saving civil society groups. Through written updates from the Syria Campaign and photos and videos from people on the ground, Idlib Lives spotlights some of the province’s leading activists and tells stories of daily life in northwest Syria.
On 2 November, the regime began bombing Jarjanaz village, which is home to 31,500 people and protected by the Idlib demilitarised zone. Since then, it has attacked the area on a near daily basis, killing at least 18 people in the past month. In fear for their lives, around 90 percent of the village’s population has fled to the surrounding areas, turning Jarjanaz into a ghost town. Read more
In the last few weeks of his life, Raed Fares knew that he was in imminent danger. The man who had survived an assassination attempt and weathered countless death threats began telling friends and colleagues what to do after he was gone. On 23 November, unidentified gunmen drove towards Raed and shot and killed him along with his friend and fellow activist, Hamoud Jnayd. Read more
Idlib is currently under an uneasy ceasefire, which takes the form of a demilitarised zone separating pro and anti-regime forces. The zone was agreed to by Russia and Turkey but it only has the begrudging assent of Assad who calls it a "temporary" measure. Assad still hopes to retake Idlib, something that would put the lives of its almost 3 million civilians at risk. Read more