On Thursday, 10th February 2022, Fatima al-Hamid, a displaced widow supporting four young orphans, was fatally shot in the head by HTS security forces at a checkpoint on the border between Atmah in Idlib and Deir Balut in northern rural Aleppo. According to local media, Fatima was traveling to Atmah from Deir Balut to smuggle fuel across the Deir Balut crossing.
Severe poverty has stricken many of the refugee camps in the nearby Atmah area, ultimately forcing residents to search for means to a way for income. Due to HTS prices being higher than in the neighboring territories, many poverty stricken residents of the Atmah refugee camps have resorted to smuggling fuel from the northern Aleppo area for cash.
The shooting of Fatima in front of the eyes of her little children, after she attempted to smuggle a few liters of fuel, enraged her family members. Dozens of angry demonstrators from the Atmah refugee camp gathered at the checkpoint where the fatal shooting by HTS was carried out from.
Protests broke out, in which HTS responded by sporadically shooting at demonstrators, leading to a child being shot in the leg. Footage from Atmah town circulating on social media showed gunshots being fired by HTS security forces towards demonstrators, who angrily responded by throwing rocks back.
To ease tensions, the father of Fatima made a public appeal calling for demonstrations to halt, by saying that he had agreed to resolve the issue with HTS through the Shariah courts. A short time after his appeal, a meeting took place between the killed widow’s family and HTS officials, which was hosted by tribal leaders in order to solve the issue.