On September 4, al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, arrested two brothers, Bashar and Mohamad al-Sheikh, who work as activists and journalists for the SY+ agency.
A large force of the terrorist group arrested the two brothers after raiding their house in the al-Anadolu camp near the town of Kafr Lusin on the border with Turkey.
قام إخوانكم المجاهدين في هيئة المخابرات الجوية التي يقودها #الجولاني باعتقال الإعلاميين محمد الشيخ وشقيقه بشار الشيخ قرب #كفرلوسين ضمن غزوة “بدكين حرييية” والتي ترمي إلى اعتقال كافة الإعلاميين الغير تابعين للمخابرات الجوية pic.twitter.com/RMO8Lx25sy
— ابن قاسيون (@ibnqasuoon) September 4, 2021
Last July, HTS arrested Amin al-Sheikh a brother of Bashar of Mouhamad who also worked as a journalist. Prior to that, specifically in April, the terrorist group arrested Khaled Hussino, a bother-in-law of the three. Hussino worked as a media activist in one of the refugee camps in northern Idlib.
Opposition sources said that Amin and Khaled were accusing of spying for the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition.
Nevertheless, sources affiliated with HTS said that Amin and Khaled were in fact spying for the Russian and Syrian intelligence. According to the sources, HTS arrested Bashar and Mohamad after finding out that they were also a part of the spying ring.
All of these claims appear to be a part of a propaganda stunt meant to justify the arrest of the four activists, who were reportedly opponents of HTS. The terrorist group runs a network of prisons where more than 2,200 people have disappeared, according to humanitarian groups.
Last month, HTS announced that it had uncovered a cell of ISIS and arrested its four members. Later, sources in Greater Idlib revealed that the men were former fighters of HTS and Horas al-Din who were operating on their own.
HTS have been working to solidify its control over Greater Idlib for the last three years. Despite the terrorist group’s aggressive behavior, some in the West are still trying to whitewash it and present its leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani as a reformer of some sort.
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