Kid*nap for ransom | Gangs led by heads of intel*ligence branches and Hez*bollah-backed militiamen kid*nap civilians in Homs • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Kid*nap for ransom | Gangs led by heads of intel*ligence branches and Hez*bollah-backed militiamen kid*nap civilians in Homs

Syrian Observatory activists have reported that the phenomenon of kidnapping for ransom in Homs province in general and western and northern Homs countryside, in particular, has increased amid rampant security chaos that prevails in regime-controlled areas.

The kidnapping and robbery gangs in northern and western Homs countryside are led by prominent leaders of the security branches and militiamen of Lebanese Hezbollah-backed militia, who protect the kidnappers in exchange for the lion’s share of ransom received from the families of the kidnapped people.

The kidnapping is run by Jaafar Jaafar from Al-Hazmiah north-east of Homs city centre, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah-backed militia, “Shuja’ Al-Ali,” commander of National Defence militia in western Homs countryside, who also has close ties with officers of the 4th Division, Muhammad Khalil Al-Durai, nicknamed Abu Junaid, and the leader of an armed gang of nearly 50 members.

According to SOHR activists in Homs, on Tuesday, November 22, an armed group affiliated with Abu Junaid released the professor, Fawaz Al-Hazwani from Al-Talbisah city for 40,000 USD after he was kidnapped in the pliant sight of his children in Al-Farhaniyah town in northern Homs countryside.

According to SOHR sources, at first, the kidnapping gang demanded 100,000 USD for the professor’s release, then they demanded 400,000 USD as a final agreement after the period of the professor’s abduction lasted nearly a week.

In a related context, unidentified persons abducted four people from Shin town in western Homs countryside and took them to an unknown destination. The kidnapping took place after Jaafar Jaafar coordinated with the leader of the National Defence militia, Shuja Al-Ali, who has a close tie with the kidnappers who work in the car trade.

A number of residents and dignitaries of Shin town gathered in the “Military Security” detachment in Talbiseh to meet lieutenant colonel, Haider Issa, the head of the detachment, and demanded that their children be freed as the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 500,000 USD.

Despite the meeting between the families of the abductees and the head of Military Security” detachment, the lieutenant colonel refused to intervene, claiming that there is confirmed information to indicate their whereabouts.

Thus, the families of the abductees went to the head of the branch, Brigadier General Muhammad Suleiman Qena, who in turn pledged to follow up on the case of the abductees as soon as possible.

Nearly three months ago, the northern countryside of Homs witnessed two kidnappings, when a trader from Nabek city, the nephew of Major General Hussam Luqa, head of the State Security Intelligence Branch in Damascus. The abducted man was released after paying a ransom of 100,000 USD by the mediation of Al-Sheikh Zakaria Al-Daqqa, a resident of Talbisah city.

Moreover, a woman from Tel Telkahkh in the western countryside of Homs, was abducted after being lured to the area on the pretext of selling a number of artefacts. The woman was later released for 25,000 USD.

It is worth noting that the residents of Homs and countryside accuse the heads of security branches and detachment officers of facilitating the work of kidnapping gangs in the western and northern countryside of Homs and accuse Lebanese Hezbollah militia of protecting the gang members of Jaafar Jaafar, one of the largest drug traffickers in the area.