British aid worker Tauqir Sharif has been arrested, once again, by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, opposition sources reported on August 11.
Sharif, who is known as “Abu Hussam al-Birtani,” was arrested by HTS’ security forces in June. The group officials claimed that he was arrested for mismanaging relief funds and for supporting some projects that incited division in Greater Idlib.
On July 15, it was reported that HTS released Sharif on bail. The terrorist group faced a backlash for arresting Sharif without providing any evidence against him.
After his second arrest, Sharif’s wife Raquell Hayden-Best revealed in an interview with the On the Ground News that her husband was tortured by HTS’ security forces while he was in custody in June.
According to Raquell, Sharif confronted his torturer while on his way to an HTS court prior to his arrest on August 11. The group may have rearrested him because of this confrontation.
Sharif, who was stripped from his British citizenship in 2017, runs a vast network of organizations in Greater Idlib. His alleged support to al-Qaeda’s newly-founded Fa Ithbatu coalition was likely behind his recent conflict with HTS’ security forces.
HTS is actively working against Fa Ithbatu and its factions, especially Horas al-Din. The group sees such factions as a threat to its influence in Greater Idlib.