On August 13, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) arrested Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American journalist working in the Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
Abdul Kareem runs On the Ground News, an outlet that has been promoting terrorist groups in Syria, including HTS, for several years.
“HTS have arrested Bilal Abdul Kareem from Atma town in northern rural Idlib. He was assaulted and taken to an unknown location by masked HTS members,” On the Ground News said in a brief statement.
A few hours before his arrest, Abdul Kareem shared a report accusing HTS of torturing British aid worker Tauqir Sharif. Abdul Kareem claimed that infamous British doctor, Shajul Islam, covered up the torture of Sharif during his first arrest in June.
HTS accused Sharif of “mismanaging” relief funds and supporting some projects that “incited division” in Greater Idlib. The group presented no evinced to the public to back its accusations.
Abdul Kareem’s support for Sharif’s case generated much pressure on HTS, which was forced to release him on bail on July 15. Back then, scandalous photos of Abdul Kareem were leaked. HTS was blamed for this.
Sharif was arrested again by HTS earlier this week. Abdul Kareem interviewed Sharif’s wife, who confirmed that he was tortured by the group and that he even confronted his torturer before his second arrest.
The arrest of Abdul Kareem was expected by many local observers. The iron fist of HTS’ regime in Greater Idlib doesn’t tolerate any criticism.