A British aid worker, Tauqir Sharif, has been kidnapped in Syria. The Middle East Monitor earlier this week reported that 31 year old Sharif was thought to have been taken by members of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham in Idlib. Sharif is from Walthamstow in East London, UK. He worked in Idlib under The Unity Project coalition, which he had founded.
Sharif was reportedly snatched from his home near the Turkish border at around 8.30 pm local time on Monday night.
The Middle East Monitor reports that while humanitarian workers operating on the ground are usually allowed to move about freely by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, occasional altercations between charities and fighter groups in the area have been reported.
Sharif has been in Syria since he acted as the head of logistics for the first aid convoys from Britain in 2012. He and his British wife, Racquell Hayden-Best, stayed behind to establish basic schools and so that he could launch his own aid organisation. He is said to be well known among British charities in Syria, and is loved by local Syrians. According to the Middle East Monitor, Sharif has raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years for charitable projects in Idlib, in crowdfunding appeals.
With no ransom having been demanded, it is unclear if Sharif has been ‘arrested’ by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham or kidnapped. However, Tauqir Sharif has previously also been targeted. He had once almost been seized by ISIS, whom he said were the “worst representation of Muslims.”
Sharif’s British citizenship was revoked in 2017.
Umm Muhammed Umar