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Ali Keda, a dissident officer and security official, is now new head of Salvation Government

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Editing: Abd Allah Al Darwesh Hasan Borhan |
Translation: Glory Jabr

Idlib - SMART

On Nov. 19, 2019, the Shura Council of the Salvation Government chose the military engineer Ali Keda as the new prime minister of the Salvation Government. The Shura Council then tasked Keda with forming a new government, following the resignation of the previous government headed by Fawaz Hilal after the end of its term.

The Salvation Government, which was imposed by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) on Northern Syria, has not received any popular satisfaction. The residents of the region protested against the Salvation Government and criticised its decisions, as it imposed many taxes on the people who are already suffering from difficult humanitarian conditions. Although, the Salvation Government controls crossings, through which it gains a lot of money.

Who was Keda before the Syrian Revolution?

Ali Abdul Rahman Keda was born in Haranbush village in Idlib in 1972, of a well-educated family. Keda is a father of five children. He holds a degree in military engineering from the Military Academy of the Syrian government forces. He also received an electrical engineering degree from Aleppo University.

Keda reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Syrian government forces while serving in the defense trailer manufacturer at al-Nayrab military airbase in neighboring Aleppo governorate.

Who is Keda with the start of the Syrian Revolution?

Local activists reported to SMART that when the Syrian revolution started in March 2011, Keda had left the ranks of the Syrian government forces for about six months and then returned. In 2012, he finally defected. However, others reported that the Syrian government forces arrested Keda for seven months and that he defected after his release.

An exclusive source reported to SMART that in April 2015, Keda served as deputy head of the security department (known as 107) in the Jaysh al-Fateh, which includes Islamic battalions and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions, after it gained control of the Idlib city on March 8, 2015. During that period, violations took place in the governorate, including theft, kidnapping, seizure of property and harassment of activists.

After the collapse of the Jaysh al-Fateh, Keda worked as a security official for a short period in the Sham Corps of the FSA, supported by Turkey. Keda then resigned and did not join any other military party. The Sham Corps confirmed that Keda was affiliated to it without mentioning the nature of his post, stressing that he is currently not associated with it.

Keda worked in several civil fields, including the Free Police before it was dissolved after the HTS gained control of the entire Idlib governorate, northern countryside of Hama and western countryside of Aleppo in early 2019. However, the Free Police commanders dismissed Keda after he decided to join the Salvation Government operating in HTS-controlled areas. Keda also worked in the management of local councils in Idlib, according to the exclusive source.

The source stated that Keda served as deputy interior minister for administrative affairs and public relations in the government of Fawaz Hilal.

On Nov. 17, 2019, Fawaz Hilal, the second term’s president of the Salvation Government, submitted his resignation to the Shura Council, which was founded at the General Conference of the Syrian Revolution on March 30, 2019. One of the Shura Council’s tasks is evaluating the performance of the Salvation Government and forming a new government.

The media office director of the Shura Council, Khalid Saad al-Din, reported to SMART that the Shura Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the resignation of the Salvation Government. The meeting ended with approval to the resignation. Engineer Ali Abdul Rahman Keda then won the presidency of the Salvation Government for its third term, after he received two-thirds of the votes of the Shura Council’s members.

The Salvation Government imposed its administrative authority over the entire Idlib governorate, after the HTS gained control of the entire area, following clashes with FSA factions. The clashes ended after the FSA and HTS reached an agreement on the withdrawal of the factions and recognition of the Salvation Government’s administrative authority. The people and local councils associated with the Syrian Interim Government protested against the Salvation Government, after it imposed new taxes.

On Oct. 7, 2017, the Constituent Committee formed the first Salvation Government after Muhammad al-Sheikh was elected as the prime minister and 11 ministers were nominated.