Women are at the forefront of challenging extremism in Idlib

This was originally published at Chatham House. Here is a longer, un-edited version.

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Women and girls at Farouq camp, northern Idlib protest against HTS. Source: Enab Baladi

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.[1] 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

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