Al-Nusra Seizes Possessions Of Christians In Syria’s Idlib

Author: Hani Salem

Publication Date: 9/1/2023

Source: North Press

On Monday, ” Spoils of War Committee” of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly al-Nusra Front) seized lands and real estate belonging to expat Christians of Idlib though they have agents to facilitate things.

A Christian source of the Christian-majority village of al- Yacoubiyah in the western countryside of Idlib said a group of the “Spoils of War Committee” announced seizing a number of lands and residential and commercial real estate of expat Christians.

The source added that the HTS refused the agency agreements the agents have shown, demanding the presence of either the original owners or their hires to discuss the issue.

Al-Nusra, after taking control over Idlib, established the ” Spoils of War Committee” which is tasked with counting possessions and resources of the Christians in general, those, whom the HTS considered supporters of the government, and some minorities such as Shiite, Alawites, and Druze, according to reports.

A source of the “Spoils of War Committee” said the confiscated possessions included lands of about 470 acres, three shops, and 14 houses in al- Yacoubiyah and al-Quniyah in the countryside of Jisr al-Shughur west of Idlib after verifying they belong to expat Christians.

The source added the agency agreements relatives of the expat Christians bear are not admissible, thus the original owners must come to check on his security condition.

Since 2016, the committee has confiscated more than 600 residential real estate, and lands of about 1.100 acres that belong to the Christian people of Idlib, according to the source.

Prior to the Syrian crisis, there were nearly 10.000 Christians living in Idlib, but they fled the region after al-Nusra’s takeover.

Reports say there are 200 Christians that were said to be living in Idlib up to 2021, mostly elderly people. They were living in Idlib, Jisr al-Shughur, al- Yacoubiyah, Qunaya, Jdayde, Halluz, and al-Ghassaniah, most of whom are from the Greek Orthodox denomination.

However, al-Nusra has changed the name of the committee to “Housing Corporation” to legalize its practices and seek the international community support to remove its name from the terrorism regulations.

In September 2022, videos and photos went viral, showing the opening ceremonies of the al-Yacoubiyah church in which tens of Christians take part in a bid seen by observers and activists as a move by Abu Mohammad al-Julani, leader of the HTS, to approach the West and to show himself as a moderate figure.


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