Skip to main content

British charity worker detained by HTS in Idlib

Tauqir Sharif was kidnapped by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham on Monday, according to a statement from his aid organization in northwest Syria.
Screenshot (392).png

A British aid worker who lives and works in northern Syria was abducted by the militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham on Monday, his organization said. 

The charity organization Live Updates From Syria wrote on its Instagram page that Tauqir Sharif was “kidnapped tonight around 9:30 p.m. by HTS and taken to an unknown location.” 

“Additionally, his wife and family are on house arrest and not allowed to leave — with militants standing outside of their home,” the group wrote. 

Sharif was reportedly seized in Atmeh, a town near the Turkish border in northern Idlib province. 

The war-torn enclave is the last major stretch of Syria still in the hands of the opposition after nine years of war. The United Nations has estimated that more than a million people have been displaced in the past year due to the regime’s assault on Idlib. 

The region is home to a number of opposition groups, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is considered a terrorist organization by Russia, Turkey and the United States. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has urged Washington to designate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham an “entity of particular concern."

Originally from east London, Sharif and his wife moved to Syria seven years ago. In 2017, the British government revoked his citizenship, claiming he had ties to an al-Qaeda affiliated group in the region. 

Sharif denied the UK Home Office's allegations, which he described as racist. His lawyers have launched an appeal. 

In a statement, the London-based advocacy organization CAGE called on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to confirm Sharif is being treated humanely.

“Despite his immense sacrifices, Tox has endured assaults by the [Assad] regime, survived bombing attempts by ISIS [Islamic State] and had his nationality revoked by the British government without any evidence presented against him,” said CAGE's Moazzam Begg, using Sharif's nickname. “I hope they understand how much Tox has endured in his efforts to help the people of Syria."

His organization, Live Updates From Syria, describes itself on Facebook as “a team of front-line Humanitarian aid workers working inside war-torn Syria” that delivers aid and raises awareness of the crisis. The group said that since Sharif’s capture, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has taken over his projects, including a school and refugee housing. 

His British wife, Racquell Hayden Best, described Sharif on Facebook as “a man who has given up everything to come here and help those who are oppressed.” Best said she had requested a formal statement from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham explaining why Sharif was taken, but has received no response. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial