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Idleb’s Ministry of Information Has All the Powers of a Security Branch

The Salvation Government recently introduced the establishment of a Ministry of Information, inaugurating its headquarters in Idleb City.

Opinions and stances varied concerning the inauguration of a Ministry of Information building in Idleb governorate by the Salvation Government, the civilian arm of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The stated purpose was to “organize chaos and transition media from a state of randomness to an organized state.”

Since the ministry’s formation earlier this year, most journalists in northwestern Syria condemned the move. It occurred without coordination or consultation with regional media bodies, raising concerns among many media professionals. The apprehension stems from HTS’s history of harassing journalists and holding them accountable for social media criticism.

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In northwestern Syria, hundreds of journalists and media professionals operate within three main bodies: the Syrian Media Association, predominantly present in Idleb and its countryside; the Syrian Media Union, with members in the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo and Idleb; and the Aleppo Media Union and its countryside.

These organizations have been active for years, accumulating experience and making significant strides in supporting media professionals. They serve as a liaison between journalists and official institutions in the region, having signed cooperation protocols with local councils, the police, and various factions. These agreements stipulate cooperation with journalists and grant them the freedom to work as long as they possess recognized press cards from each respective body.

Ministry of Information in Idleb 

The Salvation Government Idleb recently introduced the establishment of a Ministry of Information, inaugurating its headquarters in Idleb City a few days ago. During the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Ali Keda stated, “We orchestrated this restructuring to bring order to media activities through a singular gateway dedicated to advancing the revolution. It will serve as a liberator, steering the media narrative towards supporting the revolution, exposing the criminal regime, and acting as a communication bridge with the outside world. The Ministry of Information will operate according to a strategic goal and a scholarly approach to media work.”

Mohammed al-Omar, the Minister of Information in the Salvation Government, highlighted the meticulous internal organization of the ministry since its inception. He mentioned the development of its structure, internal systems, press affairs directors, media entities, the Department of Public Relations, the Department of Advertising, as well as the departments of marketing and planning. Omar emphasized the formulation of media policies for government ministries. He announced the completion of the establishment phase and the commencement of a new stage focused on institutional work, adhering to professional standards and complying with the laws governing the field. Collaboration with free media both inside and outside the region was emphasized to serve the revolution and its objectives.

At the beginning of the year, Prime Minister Keda unveiled the composition of the sixth session of the Salvation Government, announcing ministerial portfolios. Notably, among the ten ministries, a new addition was made – the Ministry of Information, headed by Mohammed Omar. Omar, previously unknown in media circles, assumed the ministerial role, replacing the Ministers of Local Administration and Services, Education, and Justice, marking a shift in the government’s administrative lineup.

Omar, aged 31, holds a crucial role in the media landscape, serving as a foundational figure for HTS leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani. He has occupied various significant positions for years, often working behind the scenes.

In September of this year, the Ministry of Information announced the initiation of the application process for legal licenses for media and advertising institutions in areas controlled by HTS in northwestern Syria. The stated objective of these licenses is to facilitate and regulate media activities in liberated areas. However, the specific conditions and procedures for obtaining these licenses were not disclosed.

Following the opening of the Ministry of Information building in Idleb, a journalist named Adnan al-Imam was arrested at the Ghazawiya checkpoint in Aleppo countryside. This incident occurred as he was returning from the university in Azaz, north of Aleppo, to Idleb. Confidential sources revealed that the Ministry of Information had previously issued threats, indicating its intention to involve the General Security Agency to arrest him on various pretexts. Upon his arrest in Ghazawiya, al-Imam was compelled to sign a commitment not to engage in media work. His privacy was violated through a search of his personal phone, and he was coerced to unlock it under threats of imprisonment in Harem prison.

Jalal al-Tallawy, the head of the Syrian Media Union, asserted that the Ministry of Information within the Salvation Government has transformed into a de facto security branch, wielding the powers of a security apparatus in Idleb. The ministry reportedly circulated the name of journalist Adnan Imam at HTS checkpoints, aiming to apprehend him in a humiliating manner.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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