This was originally published at Chatham House. Here is a longer, un-edited version.
In May, SMART News Agency, an oppositional media site, released a video report addressing educational and administrative corruption at Idlib University. The University is under the governance of the Syrian Salvation Government, the civil authority wing of the powerful hard-line Islamist group Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) dominant in much of the rebel-held province. One of the interviewees was a young mother named Fatima Idris. Displaced from Homs to Idlib, Fatima’s a student at the university’s Media Institute. Her outspoken criticisms prompted her arrest by HTS, sparking outrage from activists and protests from female students. Fatima was released from detention two weeks later, possibly as a result of public pressure. Her case serves as an example of the continuing local resistance to authoritarian armed groups, of which women are often at the forefront. Continue reading