On December 9, 2017, a patrol affiliated to HTS (formerly al-Nusra Front) arrested two activists, originally from Madaya, in Idlib, while one of them was taking photos of one of the city’s neighborhood, according to a person close to the activists, who refused to disclose his name for private reasons.
In detail, agents affiliated to HTS arrested the media activist Hussam Mahmud, 30, and Hasan Younis, 27, who works with the Syrian Civil Defense organization, and they subsequently disappeared.
According to the same source, two days after the incident, other HTS agents arrested "Bakr Younis", Hasan Younis's brother, for reasons unknown. It has not ended there, four days after the incident; another security apparatus patrol of HTS arrested the media activist "Amjad al-Maleh, 29, for unknown reasons, noting that Amjad knew about the arrest of Hussam and Hasan one day after their arrest.
Amjad al-Maleh, an activist from Madaya town, who has recently begun establishing a center for forcibly displaced persons in Idlib (Syrian Center for Forcibly Displaced Persons), in cooperation with other persons. The source, which has provided Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ with the information, believes that the establishment of the center may be one of the reasons behind HTS arresting Amjad, and it is worth mentioning that Amjad was staying in the same house with Hussam when he was arrested.
The same source told STJ that they were informed from HTS members that the later would release Hasan and Bakr, but nothing like that happened, as information was received about their transfer from the central prison in Idlib to another unknown place.
After the arrest of Amjad and Hussam, agents of HTS returned and took all their personal belongings from the house (computers, mobiles, other things…); where the neighbors said that they saw agents taking things from the house.
The four activists were among the most prominent media activists who widely disseminated the suffering of people from the besieged Madaya, and who played a prominent role in advocacy campaigns to lift the siege on Madaya.
In a statement, 27 Syrian organizations called for the disclose of the four detainees’ fate and for their release, and stated that al-Amr al-Waqei forces, which controls large parts of Idlib province, are the responsible for the activists’ safety.