Dozens of Aleppo Free Police officers quit after HTS takeover
Aleppo - SMART
Dozens of Free Police officers in the city of Atarib, 30 kilometers west of Aleppo, Northern Syria, quit their jobs after the Islamist faction Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) gained control of the region and asked them to work under its administration.
The Atarib Free Police of the Aleppo Free Police issued a statement refusing to work under the HTS. The statement included the names of 56 officers, two captains and four sergeants. Soon after, the Atarib Free Police added the names of four additional sergeants and seven officers.
An anonymous official source from the Aleppo Free Police reported that they quit because the HTS tried to force them to work for the Salvation Government, which operates in HTS-controlled areas.
The source said that the Free Police have worked for six years without being affiliated to any faction or political entity, whether the Salvation Government, Syrian Interim Government, National Coalition or others.
The source stated that some of the Free Police departments in the western countryside of Aleppo may issue similar statements, such as the departments of Ibin, al-Ibzimu and Kafr Taal. The source also said that they continued to work despite the end of funding since September 2018 and direct bombing from Syrian government warplanes on their stations.
The source considers working under the Salvation Government and the HTS a betrayal of the principles of the Syrian revolution.
On Tuesday, the Chief of the Free Police Adib Shlaf reported that HTS members entered the police stations in the region and told officers that each of them must prepare and submit an application to work with the HTS. Shlaf noted that 95 percent of the police officers in the region refused to work for the HTS.
On Thursday, the Free Police in the nearby HTS-controlled Idlib governorate announced that they would suspend their work until further notice. However, some of the Idlib Free Police departments announced that they will continue working despite the changes, including the departments in the city of Maarrat al-Nu'man, the town of Kafr Takharim and the village of Kafruma.