Syrian regime fail to catch kidnappers of “Fawwaz Qutayfan” for ten months, but it takes 12 days to fabricate false story about murder of Jawa
Syrian children fall victims to war and regime’s propaganda
For nearly 12 days, Syrian regime authorities, including the criminal security branch in Homs, the Syrian regime’s president “Bashar Al-Assad” and his wife “Asmaa Al-Akhras,” have exerted all possible efforts to falsify the circumstances of the death of the four-year-old girl, “Jawa Istanbuli,” who was kidnapped on August 8 while she was playing in front of her house in Homs. In only 12 day, regime authorities managed to create a fake story and arrest the “alleged murderer” on August 20 in order to cover up the “file” of drug business in Syria, which the ruling class is involved in.
On the other hand, the circumstances of the kidnapping and release of the eight-year-old boy, “Fawwaz Qutayfan,” who is from Daraa city, and the identities of the kidnappers have remained unknown for nearly ten months. “Fawwaz” was kidnapped last year, where the kidnap gang held him for the first three months, before they received a large ransom in return for his released. The gang’s members are at large and enjoying freedom, as regime security services have failed so far to catch any of them.
The story of the kidnapping of “Fawwaz” started in November 2021 when he was kidnapped by an unknown armed gang, while he was on his way to school in Abtaa town in Daraa countryside. The gang communicated with his family and asked for a ransom of 500 million Syrian liras in return for his release. The gang sent video footages showing “Fawwaz” while being beaten brutally in order to exert pressure on the kid’s family to pay the requested ransom. The kidnappers also threatened to cut off the boy’s fingers successively, unless his family had paid the ransom.
The video footages which showed the brutal torture of the child led to turning the story into a high-profile case and sparked considerable local sympathy, where thousands of social media activists reacted with the developments of the case. The latest developments of that case also topped the headlines of all newspapers and press agencies. In the meantime, local activists launched an online campaign under the hashtag “#Save-Fawwaz-Qutayfan,” hoping to help him and reach the kidnappers and the place where he was held. Finally, the child’s family was able to collect the requested money and paid the ransom to the gang which later released the boy by leaving him in a pharmacy.”
“Fawwaz Al-Qutayfan” returned to his family, after having been held and tortured for a long time. However, the complaint which was filed against unknown persons was archived. Despite claims by the regime’s security services which have confirmed that they have started investigations, put forces in all security branches on high alert, caught a member of the gang and closely tracked the case, all developments on the ground prove that regime authorities have turned the page on the case of “Fawwaz Al-Qutayfan.” Security services seem indifferent to catch the kidnappers, although the boy’s family found themselves are forced to sell all properties to secure the requested sum of money imposed by the gang in return for the release of their son.
On February 13, SOHR highlighted the case of kidnapping another eight-year-old girl known as “Salam Hasan Al-Khalaf” from Al-Tybah town in the eastern countryside of Daraa. The girl had been kidnapped in March 2020, while she was returning from school to home. According to sources, unknown individuals in a van, “H1” make, blocked her way and forced her to get into the van, before they escaped. The girl’s clothes and school bag were found in a farm near Al-Taybah town, nearly a week after her kidnap. Until today, the fate of the girl remains unknown.
In light of the frequent kidnappings of children, particularly in regime-controlled areas, where those blatant crimes seem to be turned into a way for settling military, political, financial disputes, SOHR emphasises that the Syrian regime is a major partner in all violations and crimes committed against Syrian people, especially children.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), assign full responsibility for the failure to control the security situation and protect children from being exploited and turned into tools for the settlement of dispute to the Syrian regime’s security services.
We call for not disregarding the case of “Fawwaz Qutayfan,” which attracted public attention for days before his releases, and letting the criminals go unpunished. We also assign full responsibility for inaction and hold of serious investigations with the aim of reaching and arresting the kidnappers to all relevant authorities.