In northern Syria’s Idlib governorate, terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) detained three dissident leaders who had recently established a parallel operations room called “So Be Steadfast”, according to a statement from HTS, Syrian News Agency (SANA) reported.
Those detained include Serag El-Din Mukhtarov, nicknamed Abu Salah Al-Uzbeki, and Jamal Zainia, also known as Abu Malik al-Telli, as British aid worker Tauqir Sharif, known as Abu Hussam al-Britani.
HTS spokesman Taqi al-Din Omar justified Sharif’s detainment by accusing him of mismanaging aid funds and transferring a portion of them to support projects that incite division, defection and division within HTS’s ranks.
As for Zania, HTS detained him in order to prevent him from defecting and to take him to account for his actions that caused confusion, split ranks, and encouraged rebellion.
Mukhtarov was the mastermind of the organization before defecting recently. HTS said he had carried out multiple terrorist operations against HTS elements in Idlib after he left the organization and joined the Ansar al-Din Front.
Baiting with money
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one of the main reasons that led to the three being detained was the fact that Zania in particular was able to attract many youth elements after he provided them with exorbitant wealth and promised them more if they could attract more elements from HTS.
The Observatory confirmed that he already managed to recruit more than 100 HTS members over the past two weeks.
The Observatory pointed out that HTS nearly collapsed recently due the three detained leaders having collected large sums of money from donors in Idlib, which made many of these donors reluctant to donate again to HTS, which has been suffering from an economic crisis.
Syrian political activist Rayyan Marouf said that the detainment of the three leaders represents a strong blow to the operations room, which will likely collapse, adding that this is HTS’s goal so as not to have an opponent in Idlib.