Idlib: HTS Releases Surgeon It Kidnapped And Apologizes
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) released the orthopedic surgeon Othman al-Hassan after kidnapping him from the Bab al-Hawa Hospital, Idlib, and keeping him captive for a few hours.
On September 4, Wednesday, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) posted onto its Facebook page that the surgeons’ car was shot at yesterday in the Ad Dana district, near the Syrian-Turkish borders while on his way to the Ma’arrat Misrin to operate on a wounded person.
SAMS added that an armed group forced the surgeon out of his car, shot him in the legs and started beating him, after which he was rushed to the Bab al-Hawa Hospital by one of the gunmen, who identified himself as a militant of HTS-affiliated security service.
The armed group, SAMS stressed, stormed the operation room and arrested surgeon Othman, leading him to an unidentified place, adding that the surgeon was returned to the hospital a few hours from his abduction.
The Bab al-Hawa Hospital made a statement, in which it announced suspending its services until the surgeon is released, the preparators are held accountable and obliged not to harass the medical staffers in any form, in addition to refraining from taking any patient out of the hospital in such a manner.
In the statement, the hospital attributed the suspension of its activities to the following reasons, “the physical and verbal abuse the surgeon was subjected to, the violation of the dignity of the hospital and its medical staffs, subjecting them to verbal attacks, threatening them with arrest and preventing them from meeting their medical duty to surgeon Othman al-Hassan.”
The HTS-affiliated security service, for its part, made a statement justifying the kidnapping incident, saying that one of its patrols was monitoring a kidnapping cell in the area and that the description, including the type, color and location, of the kidnappers’ vehicle matched that of surgeon al-Hassan.
The patrol, HTS stated, thought that those on board the car are a group of kidnappers, not the surgeon, who refused to pull over and attempted to escape, leading to a clash, during which the patrol aimed at the tires and injured the surgeon.
HTS also confessed that one of the patrol’s personnel assaulted the surgeon believing that he is one of the kidnapping cell’s members, pointing out that “the surgeon was released in a few hours, after he was identified by several sides and asserted that he had no part in the incident, in addition to the reason to his clash with the patrol being his belief that it was an abduction against which he tried to defend himself.”
HTS also issued an apology to the surgeon and his family for the misconduct of the patrol’s personnel, announcing that all its members were placed under investigation as to know the incident’s details and hold those at fault accountable, ready to execute any sentence that the Sharia Court might pass against them.
Born in 1981, Othman al-Hassan is a graduate of Aleppo University and an orthopedic surgeon. Al-Hassan is a father of three. He worked in eastern Aleppo’s neighborhoods during the siege, before moving to Idlib, where he started working at the SAMS-funded Martyr Mohammad Baz Hospital in Ma’arrat Misrin.
In the past months, Idlib has repeatedly born witness to the kidnapping of medical and relief organizations’ staffers by HTS, due to which several organizations threatened to minimize their relief-based activities.