Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, executed seven Syrian citizens on June 1 after accusing them of being “Russian spies.”
“Seven agents of the Russian occupier were executed, among them Zuhair Kalawi, the leader of the criminal al-Dana cell, in addition to the rest of the cell members Mohammed Yahya, Mustafa Halaj and Tayseer Fakih,” a security commander in HTS told the terrorist group’s news network, Iba’a.
The news network claimed that the so called “Dana cell” is responsible for more than 30 bombings in Idlib and its surroundings, including the February 18 double-tapped explosion that rocked the governorate’s city center. Syrian, Russian and Turkish outlets claimed that the explosion injured HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani.
As usual, HTS didn’t present any evidence what so ever to back its claims leading many Syrian activists into believing that the execution was nothing but an arbitrary act.
By executing these civilians, HTS is likely trying to intimidate government supporters in its areas and raise the morale of its members, who were shocked by its recent defeats in northern Hama.