Idlib/Syria: For the Immediate Release of the Journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem!


Emergency Statement of the RCIT, 15 August 2020,




1.             Bilal Abdul Kareem, the founder of the On the Ground News network, has been arrested by the security apparatus of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) on 13 August. Kareem is a Black American Muslim and one of the most prominent foreign journalists covering Syria's civil war. He is living in free Syria for a number of years and is an outspoken supporter of the popular liberation struggle against the tyranny of Assad. He was also put on a US "kill list" and narrowly escaped several attacks by US drones.


2.             The official reasons for Abdul Kareem's arrest and the nature of any charges he faces remain unknown. However, it seems that Karrem was arrested because he reported about the re-arrest of Tauqir Sharif, a British aid worker based in Idlib. He also broadcasted an interview with Sharif's wife, Racquell Hayden-Best, in which she alleged that her husband had been tortured in HTS custody.


3.             The RCIT strongly condemns the arrest of brother Kareem and demands his immediate and unconditional release. Likewise, we call on HTS to immediate release Tauqir Sharif and to stop any further persecution of him. The RCIT, as an international organization, has supported the liberation struggle of the Syrian people against the tyranny of Assad and Putin from the very first hour. We continue to defend the ongoing Syrian Revolution irrespective of our political criticism of the current leadership of this struggle. At the same time, we defend the right of free speech of the supporters of the Syrian Revolution.




International Bureau of the RCIT