$350,000 Worth Of Cash And Gold Donated For Gazans To Turkey-Based Council Of Palestinian Scholars After Fundraising Drive By Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS)-Linked Syrian Salvation Government (SSG)

November 9, 2023

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Video Shows Cash, Gold, Other Valuables Donated For Gaza In Fundraising Campaign Launched By HTS-Linked SSG

On November 9, 2023, Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, a Syrian pro-rebel journalist who formerly worked as an Al-Jazeera reporter, posted a one-minute 22-second video clip showing the Istanbul-based Council of Palestinian Scholars receiving a sum of cash in various currencies, in addition to gold and other valuables, amounting to $350,000 USD. The Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), a rebel body linked to Idlib-based jihadi group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), provided the donations, which were collected from the people of "the liberated Syrian north" and earmarked for the people of Gaza.[1]

The video shows a large check enumerating the amount of the donations: 124,011 USD; 5,838,985 Turkish lira (equivalent to about 200,000 USD); €540 (equivalent to about 578 USD); 1,000 Saudi riyal (equivalent to about 267 USD); and 406.27 grams of gold. Dated November 9, the check features the Palestinian and Syrian rebel flags and states that the sum was donated from the people of Idlib "to the noble people of Gaza" by the Ministry of Awqaf [Religious Endowments], Da'wah [Preaching] and Guidance in the SSG, as part of the SSG's "Gaza and Idlib – One Wound" campaign. In the video, a representative of the ministry can be seen signing the check, followed by a representative of the Idlib-based Humanitarian Action Coordination (HAC), and finally a delegate of the Council of Palestinian Scholars, all of whom wear keffiyehs around their necks depicting the Dome of the Rock and reading "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is ours. We are coming."

On a table are bundles of cash, gold jewelry, watches, and even an ornate vase with a note on it stating that it was donated by an eight-year-old Syrian IDP. Zaidan did not specify where the event took place.

The same video was shared by pro-HTS Telegram channels, which noted that the ceremony marked the end of the SSG's fundraising campaign for Gaza.[2]

Preachers Ordered To Encourage Donations, Mosques To Collect Cash And Jewelry For Gaza

The SSG Ministry of Awqaf launched a "wide-scale popular fundraising drive" on October 26, more than two weeks after the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas began, in coordination with the Ministry of Development and the HAC. In a government order, the Ministry of Awqaf announced that in light of what "our people in steadfast Gaza are suffering at the hand of the oppressive occupier," causing a "lack of food and medical resources," it aimed to "deliver aid to the disaster-stricken people of Gaza." To that end, the order called for all official preachers to deliver sermons about "spending money for the sake of Allah" and "aiding the oppressed," and for committees to be established in all local mosques to receive donations for the people of Gaza. The campaign was scheduled to begin on Friday, October 27 and conclude on the following Friday, November 3, during which all other fundraising was to be paused. The order added that only donations of cash or jewelry would be accepted, and asked for the collected donations to be delivered to the ministry's departments, accompanied with official receipts.[3]

It should be noted that the Ministry of Awqaf held an "interactive symposium" on October 30 as part of the "Gaza and Idlib – One Wound" campaign, which was attended via Zoom by Dr. Nawaf Takruri, head of the Council of Palestinian Scholars, and Zaidan, among other speakers based in Idlib and other areas. HTS supporters also published videos showing Idlib residents donating to the fundraising campaign.[4]

Since Hamas' October 7 surprise attack on Israel, HTS leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani and HTS-linked bodies have celebrated the offensive, declaring the right of Palestinians to take control of the country by force and praying for the "complete liberation" of Palestine. In addition, Egyptian-born HTS cleric Yahya (Abu Al-Fath) Al-Farghali declared "activating martyrdom-seeking operations […] against every Israeli wherever he resides or travels" to be "an obligation which cannot be escaped."[5] Commenting on the U.S. support for Israel, chief HTS religious official 'Abd Al-Rahim 'Atoun claimed that America has failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cursed "the Jews and those allied with them."[6]


[1] Twitter, November 9, 2023.

[2] Telegram, November 9, 2023.

[3] Syriansg, October 26, 2023.

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