#SaveFawaz: Family of kidnapped Syrian boy say they have enough to pay ransom

#SaveFawaz: Family of kidnapped Syrian boy say they have enough to pay ransom
The uncle of an eight-year-old boy kidnapped and brutally tortured by a gang say that the family have raised enough to pay a $140,000 ransom
3 min read
09 February, 2022
Kidnapping has become common in the restive Syrian province of Daraa [Getty]

The uncle of a kidnapped Syrian boy whose torture stirred outrage earlier this week has announced that his family had raised enough money to pay his ransom.

Abd Al-Hameed Qteifan, a Syrian actor famous across the Arab world, said in an Instagram video on Tuesday that the family of eight-year-old Fawaz Qteifan had "raised the sum and were ready to commit to the appointment to hand it over".

Fawaz was kidnapped by a gang in the restive southern Syrian province of Daraa last November. The gang demanded that the Qteifan family pay 500 million Syrian liras (approximately US$138,000) by Wednesday 9 February and released a horrific video last week showing the six-year-old boy begging for mercy as he was beaten.

In his Instagram post, Abd Al-Hameed said that so far the kidnappers had not contacted the family to arrange the handover of the money.

The Syrian media outlet Enab Baladi reported on Monday that the Qteifan family had only managed to raise 190 million Syrian liras (approximately US$53,000) after selling their land and valuables to raise funds.

The kidnappers reportedly threatened to cut off one of Fawaz's fingers every day after Wednesday that the ransom is not paid.

In his Instagram video, Abd Al-Hameed Qteifan suggested that the family had received support from across the Arab world.

"To our Arab brothers from Morocco to Iraq, who have shown all passion for the freedom of Fawaz and were ready to help and support in all ways… I thank you each individually, we are grateful and don't know how to thank you," Qteifan said.

He expressed hope that Fawaz would be returned to the family soon.

An activist from the Free Horan Rally, an opposition media group, told Tunisia's Channel 9 television on Wednesday afternoon that while Fawaz had not yet been freed, his family expected him to be released within the coming hours.

Abd Al-Hameed Qteifan said in his video that even though the family was willing to hand over money to the kidnappers, he hoped that security forces would arrest the kidnap gang and bring them to justice "because this is what all Syrians - millions of Syrians - demand".

Kidnappings for ransom are happening with increasing frequency in the southern Syrian province of Daraa, a former opposition stronghold taken over by the Assad regime in July 2018.

Abd Al-Hameed Qteifan, who is now based in Jordan, has starred in numerous Syrian drama series and spent eight years in prison in the 1980s for political activity.

He spoke out against the Assad regime when the Syrian uprising broke out in 2011.

Editor's note: Doubts have now been cast on the authenticity of the video purporting to show Fawaz Qteifan being tortured. The fact-checking site Verify-Sy says the video shows another Syrian child being beaten in Greece in 2016. Fawaz is still missing as of 10 February 2022 and his captors have threatened to harm him if they do not receive ransom money of 500 million Syrian liras (US$138,000).