Date:                             November 25, 2022



Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:

Religious Freedom in Syria Under Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham – This factsheet analyzes religious freedom conditions in northwestern Syria under the de facto governance of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate and U.S.-designated terrorist group. The rebel group continues to grow its administrative power in the northwest, including parts of the Idlib governorate, one of the last and largest strongholds against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.  Although HTS has cut formal ties with al-Qaeda and launched an active public relations campaign to rebrand itself as a legitimate civic authority, its authoritarian and ideologically driven governance—as well as its ever-evolving relations with other non-state and state actors vying for control in parts of Syria—puts northwest Syria’s religiously diverse population at continued risk.

In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department redesignate HTS as an Entity of Particular Concern (EPC) for its ongoing violations of religious freedom, and that the Treasury Department impose targeted sanctions on additional HTS leaders. In November 2022, USCIRF’s Spotlight podcast highlighted religious freedom under HTS’s recent governance. USCIRF also hosted a hearing on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Syria addressing both non-state and state actors’ violations of religious freedom.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a commissioner, please contact USCIRF at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.