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Syria: HTS in Idlib imposes stringent rules, but makes money on the population

HTS in Idlib imposes stringent rules, but makes money on the population. The list of products banned by pro-Turkey militiamen is growing. These, however, then earn money on smuggling

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib has adopted a “two measures” policy with the local population. The pro-Turkey group, on the one hand, has imposed several rules that prohibit the consumption of many products (primarily cigarettes); on the other hand, however, it regularly brings smuggled goods into the Syrian province, as it draws large profits. All smugglers, in fact, pay high duties to HTS in order to allow their trucks to access the quadrant and move freely within it. The products are then secretly distributed to shops, which sell them by word of mouth, but at higher prices. This phenomenon has especially worsened in recent months and coincided with when Ankara decided to cut aid to allied militias.

The situation in the Syrian province is increasingly explosive. Ankara’s cut in aid risks triggering an escalation of violence

Each group of militiamen in Idlib has equipped itself to survive and not to lose weight in the quadrant, making money in every way on the population. The security situation, however, is rapidly deteriorating. In fact, in the Syrian province, armed clashes between factions to grab the loot are increasingly frequent and there has been an almost exponential increase in unsolved murders. Both civilians and combatants. Furthermore, local inhabitants are beginning to see HTS as a new ISIS. The daily raids, the rules and the prohibitions, in fact, are more and more stringent. As are the punishments in case of discovery of violations. Discontent is growing rapidly and there is a real risk of a new escalation of the internal conflict in the area, which could lead to unpredictable outcomes. Above all, now that Turkey has resumed increasing pressure against Damascus and Kurdistan in the north of the Middle Eastern country.

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