On April 7, the Syrian Salvation Government, the administrative branch of al-Qaeda’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Greater Idlib, announced that Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Fayez Ahmad al-Khalif, had been murdered.
The announcement was made by the so-called Interior Minister, Ahmad Latuf, who revealed that al-Kalif was abducted by unidentified gunmen a few days earlier.
“We will continue to search, investigate and collect evidence until we apprehend the murderous criminals,” Latuf said in a video message.
The body of al-Kalif, which was reportedly mutilated, was found in the vicinity of the town of al-Tauamah in the western countryside of Aleppo. Syrian sources speculated that the murder of al-Kalif was the result of HTS’ conflicts with other terrorist groups in Greater Idlib.
Al-Khalif, born in al-Resafa in eastern Idlib on 1982, was an agriculture engineer. He was one of the figures who helped HTS found the Salvation Government in 2017. Initially, he was appointed the Minister of Agriculture.
This was not the first attack on members of HTS’ puppet government in Greater Idlib. Last January, Ibrahim Shasho, the former Minister of Awqaf, survived an attack by unidentified gunmen in Idlib city.
HTS founded the Salvation Government to promote itself as a guarantor of stability in Greater Idlib. Nevertheless, the murder of al-Kalif shows that the terrorist group can’t even protect its own puppets.
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