On 13 December 2023, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies hosted a seminar entitled "The Dynamic of Change in Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib (HTS)" The seminar, held at the Center, featured Dr. Patrick Haenni and was moderated by Dr. Aiham Alsukhni, a senior research fellow at CHS. The seminar provided a platform for attendees to gain deep insights into the intricate evolution of HTS in northwest Syria.
Dr. Patrick Haenni, who holds a Ph.D. in Political Sociology from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, works as a researcher, political analyst, and translator and has an extensive background as a political advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has authored numerous articles and books on the social and religious dynamics in the Syrian civil war, with a focus on Islam, revolution, jihadist groups, and armed entities, particularly in Syria and Egypt.
The seminar delved into the complex power dynamics in northwestern Syria, with a primary focus on the transformation of HTS from a jihadist to a political movement. Dr. Haenni highlighted the evolving relationships among various actors in the region, ranging from Turkey and the Kurds to Al Qaeda, and the Syrian local communities of Sunni and Druze Muslims and Christians. His in-depth analysis provided insights into how these relationships influenced and reshaped HTS over time.
Dr. Haenni pointed to HTS's strategic moves to consolidate power in northwestern Syria. He emphasised the group's calculated actions to diminish the influence of institutions such as Dar Al Ifta'a and the legislative court in the north. This strategic maneuvering, as explained by Dr. Haenni, aimed to establish HTS's dominance in the region while mitigating potential challenges posed by these institutions. A Q&A session that followed Dr. Haenni's presentation allowed participants to delve deeper into the details of HTS's transformation and its broader implications.
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