Syrian Salvation Government
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The Syrian Salvation Government is a de facto alternative government of the Syrian opposition in Idlib Governorate, formed in early November 2017.[3] There followed weeks of conflict between the SSG and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), with reports of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) unilaterally disbanding several SIG-supported local councils across northwestern Syria.[3] The SSG is led by a prime minister (currently Ali Keda, since 18 November 2019) who is elected by a legislative body named the General Shura Council, which is headed by a president (currently Mustafa al-Mousa, since 24 April 2020).
Syrian Salvation Government
حكومة الإنقاذ السورية


Emblem of the Syrian Salvation Government[2]
Formation2 November 2017; 3 years ago
Legislative branch
LegislatureGeneral Shura Council
Executive branch
Prime MinisterAli Keda
Main bodyCabinet
AppointerGeneral Shura Council
HeadquartersIdlib, Syria
Departments9 ministries
Since 2014, large parts of Idlib Governorate, including Idlib City, in Northwest Syria have been largely in the military control of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front which would later go on to form Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) along with five other groups, who have been at war with other rebel fighters, including the Free Syrian Army, and with the Syrian opposition more generally. HTS does not recognise the authority of the official opposition leadership, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, or its recognised government, the Syrian Interim Government. However, HTS generally removed itself from the day to day governance of territories it held, leading to a form of dual power in which civil administration was carried out by co-operatively-run local councils.[4] Throughout 2017, HTS had been engaged in particularly intense armed conflict with rival rebel groups - see Idlib Governorate clashes (January–March 2017) and Idlib Governorate clashes (July 2017).
Students of the Free Aleppo University in al-Dana protest against the closure of several faculties by the Syrian Salvation Government.
The General Syrian Conference, held in Idlib in September 2017, was a continuation of the Civil Administration Initiative in opposition-controlled areas, held at the end of August 2017 in Idlib.[5] At its conclusion on 11 September 2017, the Conference formed a constituent body named the General Shura Council, headed by president Bassam al-Sahyouni,[6] and appointed a prime minister. The Syrian Interim Government rejected the outcome of the conference; its president, Jawad Abu Hatab, called it “a declaration of the “Idlibstan” project. The Syrian Democratic Forces in Qamishli and Afrin also rejected it.[5] Conference participants agreed upon “Islamic law as the only source of legislation", "the need to preserve the identity of the Syrian Muslim people”, “the overthrow of the illegal regime with all its symbols and pillars and holding it accountable for its committed crimes, as well as liberating the Syrian territory from all the occupying forces, extending security and spreading justice in the liberated areas”.[5]
The move was seen as part of an attempt by Tahrir al-Sham to impose its control on the region.[5] Riad al-Asaad's attendance at the conference was controversial. Riad al-Asaad said that “Tahrir al-Sham has previously declared that it will be dissolve itself, which is an external and internal demand”, and that HTS “did not attend the conference and we did not communicate with them after it ended, either”.[5] However, the Hawar Kilis Operations Room, part of the Syrian National Army, condemned Riad al-Asaad and accused him of conspiring with Al-Qaida.[7]
In early November 2017, the General Conference formed the Syrian Salvation Government.[3] There followed weeks of conflict between the new government and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), with reports of HTS unilaterally disbanding several SIG-supported local councils across northwestern Syria.[3]
On 12 December 2017, the Syrian Salvation Government issued a warning that called for the Syrian Interim Government to evacuate their offices from opposition-controlled areas in 72 hours.[8][3] There were reports that some SIG-run local councils had already been closed, and replaced by SSG-loyal alternatives, but others said they would not vacate their offices.[3]
On 6 January 2018, the Salvation Government declared control over the SIG-initiated Free Aleppo University, and closed several faculties in al-Dana and Sarmada, north of Idlib, where almost 4,000 students study. This resulted in protests by students and lecturers of the university against the group.[9][10]
On 11 March 2018, Russian planes reportedly fired a missile on the SSG Ministry of Justice east of Idlib city.[11]
On 15 August 2018, the SSG's Founding Body accepted the oral resignation of Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sheikh after the kidnapping of a prominent health director. Although the director was ransomed for $100,000 USD, al-Sheikh had promised to resign if the Ministry of Interior failed to apprehend the captors within 24 hours.[12] On 18 August 2018, the Founding Body instructed Fawaz Hilal to form a new government with the deputy prime minister, Mohammed Jamal Shahoud, leading in the interim.[13] The SSG's Constitution Drafting Assembly appointed Fawaz Hilal as prime minister, alongside nine cabinet ministers, on 10 December 2018. Hilal and much of his cabinet maintained close ties with Tahrir al-Sham.[14][15]
On 29 January 2019, a female suicide bomber accused by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham of being linked to ISIL attacked the headquarters of the Salvation Government. After fighting guards outside the facility for several minutes, she blew herself up, wounding a number of people. Two days later ISIL denied they were responsible for the attack, using their media outlet Amaq News Agency.
During a government offensive on Idlib in May 2019, Hilal called upon Turkey to support the opposition.[17]
Tax hikes, rising commodity prices and accusations that the SSG was establishing monopolies on key goods such as fuel led to protests between October and November 2019, with demonstrators chanting slogans against the SSG and Abu Mohammad al-Julani.[18][19] After residents of Kafr Takharim refused to pay a new tax on olive oil and expelled SSG officials, Tahrir al-Sham fighters besieged and bombed the town, killing 5.[20] Hilal and his cabinet resigned shortly afterwards, leading to the General Shura Council asking Ali Keda, Deputy Minister of the Interior for Administrative Affairs and Public Relations, to form a new government.[21] On 18 November 2019, Keda was elected prime minister by the Council, winning 65% of the vote.[22] However, some activists said the reshuffle was merely "changing faces".[23]
On 23 March 2020, the SSG created an emergency committee to coordinate its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Syria. Measures taken by the SSG to prevent the spread of COVID-19 included suspending Friday prayers, shutting down schools and markets and opening quarantine centres in Jisr al-Shughur, Sarmada and Kafr Karmin. However, these efforts were undermined by hardliners from Tahrir al-Sham and al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Guardians of Religion Organization, who continued to pray and hold sermons in mosques without social distancing. As of March 27, 2020, the SSG possessed limited resources to deal with a large outbreak of COVID-19, with only 107 ventilators and 243 intensive care unit beds at its disposal.[24]
On 7 April 2020, Bassam al-Sahyouni, president of the General Shura Council, resigned.[25] Sources told Enab Baladi that his resignation was in response to attempts by HTS to interfere in the Council's activities. On 24 April 2020, the Council elected Mustafa al-Mousa, a pharmacist who previously headed its health committee, as his successor.[26]
In May 2020, rapid depreciation of the Syrian pound triggered by the US Government's Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act prompted the SSG to replace it with the Turkish lira in its administered territories.[27]
On 1 December 2020, Ali Keda was re-elected as prime minister for another term by the General Shura Council, winning 81% of the vote. The appointment was criticized by opposition activists, who likened it to elections in territories controlled by the Syrian government.[28]
Mohammed al-Sheikh was initially appointed as prime minister, alongside 11 ministers for Interior, Justice, Endowment, Higher Education, Education, Health, Agriculture, Economy, Social Affairs and Displaced, Housing and Reconstruction and Local Administration and Services. Al-Sheikh, in a press conference held at the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing also announced the formation of four commissions: Inspection Authority, Prisoners and Missing Persons Affairs, Planning and Statistics Authority, and the Commission of Trade Unions.[citation needed] The founder of the Free Syrian Army, Col. Riad al-Asaad, was appointed as deputy prime minister for military affairs.[citation needed] After the appointment of Fawaz Hilal as prime minister in December 2018, the Ministry of Economy was merged with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction was merged with the Ministry of Local Administration and Services.[15]
List of prime ministers
No.NameTook officeLeft office
1Mohammed al-Sheikh2 November 2017[29]18 August 2018[12]
2Mohammed Jamal Shahoud (acting)18 August 2018[13]10 December 2018
3Fawaz Hilal10 December 2018[14][15]?
4Ali Abdulrahman Keda18 November 2019Incumbent
List of ministers in 2017
Mohammed al-SheikhPrime Minister of Syrian Salvation Government2 November 2017[29]18 August 2018
Jamal ShahoudDeputy Prime Minister of Syrian Salvation Government[30]??
Col. Riad al-AsaadDeputy Prime Minister for Military Affairs[citation needed]2 November 2017?
Brigadier Ahmed Nuri Mohammed Dib[31]Ministry of Interior2 November 2017?
Ibrahim Mohamed Shasho[citation needed]Ministry of Justice2 November 2017?
Anas Mohammed Bashir Al-Mousa[citation needed]Ministry of Awqaf, Da'wah and Guidance2 November 2017?
Dr. Juma Al Omar[10][32]Ministry of Higher Education2 November 2017?
Mohammed Jamal Shahoud[citation needed]Ministry of Education2 November 2017?
Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Jarak[citation needed]Ministry of Health2 November 2017?
Fayez Ahmed Al-Khalif[citation needed]Ministry of Agriculture2 November 2017?
Abdul Salam Al Khalaf[citation needed]Ministry of Economy2 November 2017?
Mohammed Ali Amer[citation needed]Ministry of Social Affairs and Displaced Persons2 November 2017?
Eng. Yasser Ghassan Al Najjar[citation needed]Ministry of Housing and Reconstruction2 November 2017?
Eng. Fadel Abdel Qader[citation needed]/Fadel Talib (December 2017)[3]Ministry of Local Administration and Services??
See also
  1. ^ Borhan, Hasan (11 December 2018). "Salvation Government adopts new flag instead of Syrian Revolution; detentions and kidnappings occure [sic] in Idlib and Daraa". smartnews-agency.com. SMARTNews Agency. SMART news. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^​https://www.noonpost.com/sites/default/files/styles/article-main/public/field/image/hkwm-lnqdh-lswry-ljdw-wlmsyr-780x405.jpg?itok=H1XQF6Ny noonpost.com
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "HTS-backed civil authority moves against rivals in latest power grab in northwest Syria". Syria Direct. 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 19 September 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  4. ^ TRTWorld (17 November 2017). "The shifting red sands of Idlib". The shifting red sands of Idlib. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Syrian General Conference Faces the Interim Government in Idlib". Enab Baladi. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Salvation Government Elects New Shura Council President". The Syrian Observer. 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  7. ^ "Euphrates Shield: Riyad al-Assaad is an intruder and conspirator". Al-Alam News Network. 28 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Syrian Salvation Government Gives The Syrian Interim Government 72 Hours To Evacuate Their Offices". Qasioun News Agency. 12 December 2017.
  9. ^ "So-Called Salvation Government Orders To Shut Several Faculties In Aleppo Free University". Qasioun News Agency. 6 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b "A power struggle over education emerges between rival opposition governments in Idlib province". Syria Direct. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Russian forces shelled the building of Ministry of Justice and the local administration of the Syrian Salvation government in Idlib city on March 11". Syrian Network for Human Rights. 11 March 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Political body of "Salvation Government" accepts resignation of Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sheikh". SMART News Agency. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  13. ^ a b ""الهيئة التأسيسية" لـ "حكومة الإنقاذ" تكلف مدير غرفة التجارة بتشكيل حكومة جديدة". SMART News Agency. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  14. ^ a b Ahmad; Network, Sham. ""حكومة الإنقاذ" بعهد جديد وقيادات تحرير الشام تتصدر حقائبها ... وعلم مزيف للحراك الثوري تتبناه". www.shaam.org (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  15. ^ a b c "Syria Update: December 06 - December 12, 2018". COAR. 2018-12-12. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  16. ^ http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=114751
  17. ^ "Exclusive: Idlib government chief urges defence against Assad attack". Reuters. 2019-05-27. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  18. ^ MohamedN; Network, Sham. "لليوم الثاني .. مظاهرات بمدينة إدلب تُسقط "حكومة الإنقاذ" وتحتج على قراراتها الجائرة". www.shaam.org (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  19. ^ وعالم, المدن-عرب. "وفي إدلب.. مظاهرات ضد "تحرير الشام"". almodon (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  20. ^ Arab, The New. "Five killed as HTS bombs Syrian town which protested against its rule". alaraby. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  21. ^ al-Khateb, Khaled (2019-12-29). "Reshuffle of HTS-linked government fails to bring hope in Idlib". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  22. ^ "BBC Monitoring – Analysis: Who's behind the 'Salvation Government' running northern Syria?". monitoring.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  23. ^ "After two years of governing, HTS 'Salvation Government' deepens misery in Idlib". Syria Direct. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  24. ^ "The Jihadi-Backed Salvation Government and Covid-19 in Northwest Syria". www.washingtoninstitute.org​. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  25. ^ "Idleb: President of General Shura Council Resigns". The Syrian Observer. 2020-04-08. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  26. ^ "Salvation Government Elects New Shura Council President". The Syrian Observer. 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  27. ^ "Residents of northwestern Syria replace Syrian pound with Turkish lira". Enab Baladi. 2020-07-01. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  28. ^ "ديموقراطية تحرير الشام.. إعادة انتخاب "علي كدة" رئيساً للحكومة ومنافسيه مجهولين". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  29. ^ a b Syria news Shaam network
  30. ^ Koseoglu, Sinem (5 September 2018). "Millions in Idlib brace for Syrian government assault". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  31. ^ "Car bomb hits International Rescue Committee office in northern Idlib as wave of mysterious attacks grows". Syria Direct. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Idlib University: Faculty of Medicine Forces Its Way to International Recognition". Enab Baladi. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
External links
Media related to Syrian Salvation Government at Wikimedia Commons
Official website (in Arabic)
Last edited on 2 May 2021, at 11:06
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