Syria: Kidnappings in Homs – Armed Rebels as Kidnapper

Posted: June 15, 2012 in Sideviews
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The Syrian city of Homs in these days, apart from a few districts, where the Syrian army eliminates the last rebel fortifications, life seems to go on as usual. In the relative vacuum of power in the province of Homs, meanwhile, an increased banditry can be noticed.

Especially kidnappings are more and more a part of the dirty business of “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) and of the associated armed gangs.

Anhar Kochneva (Anhar Kotschnewa) reports from Homs.

Article Source:, Photos of Anhar Kochneva.

Homs on 13/06/2012

Homs on 13/06/2012

I have met with my interlocutor already in the previous autumn in Homs: he and his fellow sufferers have told me even then about their kidnapped and barbarically murdered relatives. Now I’m back at him in Homs, and during our conversation, a man who brought along lists of further information on abduction victims came in.

I had that time already reported of a brother of a friend, who carries a hand grenade for some time, in order to blow himself up at an imminent hostage situation.

Since then the situation has become rather worse. The number of officially registered abductee goes to the thousands, including many children, women and the elderly.

The streets of Homs on 13/06/2012

The streets of Homs on 13/06/2012

Among other things, a social organization was formed in Syria to combat this phenomen. This social organization has two and a half thousand members and known and respected personalities in Syria are in its ranks.

They provide advice and assistance in conflict resolution. The latter is particularly important since the fall because of clan structures relatives of abductees often for revenge against those clans who they suspect of kidnapping their relatives. One clan takes a hostage of a family of another clan as “revenge” for the kidnapping or murder of a hostage, and so perpetuates the suffering of the people.

Sheikh Habib al-Fandi, who works in this social organization, which resources and activities the organization uses to resolve such conflicts and to allow no vigilantism in the population.

Sheikh Habib al-Fandi

Sheikh Habib al-Fandi

Imad shows me his computer files. He also shows me, in which conditions the corpses of the previously kidnapped relatives and friends were, when the dead bodies were returned to the unfortunate families.

There are numerous signs of torture (for example, there are often burns, which were inflicted (victims) apparently with hot metal objects, there are also traces of cutting weapons which were used for several days to methodically increase the size of the wounds on the bodies of the hostages).

There are corpses, at which one has completely removed the soft parts of the face, so that it is no longer possible to identify the abducted and murdered person. We decide to visit some of the families, from which persons have been abducted from their ranks.

Young volunteers from the organization told us, that we can choose any name from the list, so as to show, that the list is not just made out of the phone book; because they know the list of the “victims of the regime”, which was fabricated by the Syrian opposition and which represented nothing more than a transcript of telephone directories.

A narrow alley. A small, modest home. We meet with a boy of about ten years, he is the youngest of the family, he has been paralyzed since an early age – and he’s the only one who smiles in this house. The grieving father and the mother, drawn by distress, talk about their oldest son which was kidnapped on 8 March.

Jechha Issa (the oldest son) was injured a month before his abduction by machine gun fire when he accidentally passed a checkpoint during an attack. The 18-year-old needed crutches due to this injury, and the parents were away from home to obtain these. Before the eyes of the neighbors, the boy was dragged in a car by bandits in front of his home. Since then, there have been no effort to get in contact and no ransom was demanded.

The father says, there are always messages indicating that the boy must be dead. He also says that his son was kidnapped by a Chechen (sic) gang, which has frequently been noticed here by kidnapping, murder and vandalism. (I can believe this, because a few months ago, I saw myself Chechens under the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) in another Syrian province. AK)

At the goodbye, I tried to find some comforting words and we went to another family.

The parents and their younger son.

The parents and their younger son.

The 18-year-old Issa Jechha, abducted on 8 March 2012 in Homs.

The 18-year-old Issa Jechha, abducted on 8 March 2012 in Homs.

This is an older couple, who has even lost four of their adult children. The children came with parents to help them with the move and wanted things loaded into a car. The parents had planned to temporarily go to Damascus. Five gunmen have attacked the children. Two were kidnapped, the other two shot on the spot.

The 40-year-old Ahmad and the 38-year Muhammad leave a family with children. For the return of the 26-year-old Wasim and the 32-year-old Iyad, the family prays in every moment. The weeping father says that the wounds of one of the elders were not very critical and that they could have saved him, especially since there are only 200 meters to the nearest hospital.

But the situation was so that his son died on blood loss, because the kidnappers have yet to make matters worse, burned the house of the old. They have now no longer own property, no things, no family photos. “God, take my life, but give it back to my unfortunate boys!“, weeps the old man…

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

The mother has lost her four sons.

The mother has lost her four sons.

Parents, devastated.

Parents, devastated.

The organization for family members of kidnapping victims acknowledges that, considering the messages, the most of the reported people, who were kidnapped, were killed.

But one is very careful in disseminating such information. The lost hope for the return of loved ones may well be a cause for an untimely death of another one.

Translation of:

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