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HTS releases Syria media activist after 4 months of detention

Media activist, Nour Al-Shilo, 19 November 2020 [14wombat1/Twitter]
Media activist, Nour Al-Shilo, 19 November 2020 [14wombat1/Twitter]

The Syrian opposition militant group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham has released a media activist after detaining her for four months and handing her a death sentence.

The arrest of Nour Al-Shilo in September was confirmed by HTS in November, and she was detained due to her alleged contact with the US-led international coalition in Syria, which led the HTS to announce its decision to execute her.

According to the independent Syrian news outlet North Press Agency, however, she was released on Monday following a persistent campaign by media groups and activists. She now reportedly resides with her mother in the town of Atarib in the western countryside of Aleppo province.

Over the past year, HTS has been harshly cracking down on activists and journalists within the territory it controls in north-west Syria. Throughout 2020 it arrested – and is reported to have even tortured in some cases – many critics of its policies, issuing a system of official press cards required for journalists and media figures.

READ: Are the Idlib civil war and HTS domination the end of the Syrian revolution?

The British aid worker Tauqir 'Tox' Sharif was arrested twice since June, before being released by the group in November. The prominent journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem was also arrested in August for urging the group to implement judicial reforms and prisoner rights. He remains in detention.

According to the former British detainee of Guantanamo Bay Moazzam Begg, the militant group may reportedly be bringing Abdul Kareem's case "to a close very soon", making his release possible.

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