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Idlib village demands
Nusra withdrawal

Residents of Sinjar took the streets Thursday calling on Nusra Front fighters to leave the village.

Sinjar protest. (Facebook/Mohammad Balaas)

BEIRUT – Residents of a village southeast of Idlib held protests Thursday against the presence of Al-Nusra Front fighters, according to reports circulating on social media.

 

Demonstrations were held in Sinjar calling on Al-Nusra Front to immediately move its bases away from civilians in the village, local media activist Mohammad Balaas wrote on Facebook.

 

The activist also posted a picture of the protest, showing a procession of young men marching down one of the villages streets.

 

Meanwhile, a video posted on Facebook shows demonstrators chanting: “Sinjar is free...Jabha [Nusra Front] get out” and “the people want the downfall of the regime.”

 

A day before the protest, a regime airstrike targeted the village, according to opposition and pro-regime media outlets. However, the reports did not say if the bombing killed any residents.

 

The opposition Shaam News Network, in turn, said that the residents of the town took to the streets to demand the withdrawal of Al-Nusra Front fighters after the Islamist militants “imposed a tax on the sheep market the day before.”

 

The report added that the protesters were fired upon, with one demonstrator falling injured.

 

The Sinjar demonstrations come on the heels of an alleged dispute between residents and Nusra fighters in the nearby village of Khiyara.

 

“An argument between a civilian from the village and Nusra members led to the Nusra members opening fire,” Balaas claimed in a Facebook post.

 

“Locals then fired back and a tense atmosphere remains between the two sides.”

 

The protests come two weeks after rebels led by the Al-Nusra Front seized the Idlib province’s capital, raising questions over how rebels would administer Idlib and surrounding areas.

 

Although fears have risen that Nusra would declare an Islamic emirate, the Al-Qaeda affiliate’s leader released an audio recording supporting a power-sharing system with other rebels. 

Sinjar residents march against Nusra's presence in the Idlib village. (Facebook/Mohammad Balaas)

Sinjar is free...Jabha [Nusra Front] get out.