Rizk Muhammad al-Obei, editor-in-chief of the Tafaseel website and a media activist from the city of Kafr Nabl in the southern countryside of Idleb governorate, was detained along with his wife, Hanan Akram al-Qasim, by the border guards of the Sultan Murad Division of the National Army on April 14th, 2023. They were attempting to travel unofficially from Turkey to the Afrin area in the northern countryside of the Aleppo governorate.
Their detention took place without the presence of any judicial warrant, and they were taken to a detention center belonging to the National Army forces in the town of Bulbul, located in the city of Afrin. However, on May 6, members of the Sultan Murad Division prevented their family from visiting them in the detention center in Bulbul. The family received information that Rizk and his wife had been taken from there to an unknown destination.
The National Army forces follow a similar policy to the Syrian regime when it comes to arrests, as there are no warrants presented, but rather arrests are carried out by kidnapping individuals from roads, markets, and public places, or by raiding the headquarters of media agencies and civil events, without judicial warrants. Furthermore, Rizk and Hanan have been prevented from communicating with their families or appointing a lawyer, and there are fears that they may be subjected to torture and become forcibly disappeared, like 85% of all detainees.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights strongly condemns the detention of journalist Rizk and his wife, and demands their immediate release, along with compensation for the material and moral damage caused to them. We also call for an end to all violations against media personnel and demand their protection under international humanitarian law.
Regrettably, the armed opposition and National Army forces have failed to provide a safe and independent environment for media workers in the areas under their control. There have been numerous incidents of attacks on media workers, and no serious investigations have been conducted nor have their results been made public to the Syrian public.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.