Idlib town residents demand Jabhat a Nusra leave

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Residents of a town in the southern Idlib countryside took to the streets against Jabhat a-Nusra on Tuesday, calling for the fall of the group’s leader after partisans arrested the sheikhs of a local mosque earlier in the day, accusing them of practicing mystical Islam. “The sheikhs resented Nusra’s practices in the town, so Nusra fabricated this charge that they are Sufis,” Abu Fawz al-Sayyed, a resident of the town of Khan Sheikhoun told Syria Direct on Wednesday. “Nusra’s administration is a failure,” said al-Sayyed, adding that they have 600 members working in the small town’s administration “when they only need 50.” Videos taken at the protest show dozens of protestors marching through the streets of Khan Sheikhoun chanting “the people want the fall of Golani,” Nusra’s leader, and calling for the group’s departure from the town. “They don’t have any administrative experience, so they resort to these harsh religious decrees,” al-Sayyed said. The Al-Qaeda affiliate came to control portions of the Idlib countryside following the advance of the Victory Army, of which it is a participating faction, through most of the province in March and April.