NUSRA DRAWS: Jabhat a-Nusra fighters stormed a radio station and a women’s center in Idlib province on Saturday in an attempt to stifle a pro-opposition publication that had distributed pamphlets in support of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, reported the Turkish-based, pro-opposition radio station Radio Watan.
“A group belonging to Jabhat a-Nusra broke into a local media office and the Radio Fresh headquarters,” said Ra’ed Firas, the director of the Union of Offices for the Revolution in Idlib – a collection of media activists in Idlib – in an interview with Radio Watan.
Earlier in the week, the pro-opposition newspaper Souriatna had published and released pamphlets in solidarity with “Je suis Charlie” movement.
In an interview with Syria Direct in 2014, Souriatna described itself as a “paper born of the revolution, but Souriatna aims to be a first rate, objective, independent media body working to reflect the opinion of the Syrian street.”
Radio Fresh is a local, pro-opposition radio station. Neither it nor the women’s center appear to have ties with the pro-Charlie Hebdo publication.
The attack marks the latest in series of unilateral moves that Nusra has undertaken in Idlib since evicting its major opposition rivals, the US-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front, from the province in late 2014.
The Nusra fighters were reportedly searching for the Souriatna publication house in the town of Kafr Nubul, but acted on misinformation and instead broke into the Radio Fresh headquarters and the women’s center.
“The method of incursion reminded us of regime security violations,” said Firas.
They also beat the well-known pro-opposition media activist Hadi Al-Abdullah, prompting the social media campaign “#We are all Hadi against Nusra.”
For his part, Hadi al-Abdullah confirmed on his Twitter account that Nusra invaded the media centers and attacked him.
“The Nusra fighters embarrassed the women, calling them prostitutes.”