Syria 'gang members' detained for planning to kidnap children amid law and order breakdown

Syria 'gang members' detained for planning to kidnap children amid law and order breakdown
2 min read
24 March, 2022
Gang members were arrested near Syria's capital Damascus for planning to kidnap children for ransom, according to the regime's ministry of interior.
The suspects confessed to planning the kidknapping, Syria's ministry of interior said [Getty]

Syrian gang members planning to kidnap children around the capital Damascus have been detained, the Assad regime's ministry of interior has claimed.

The police reportedly captured alleged gang members who planned to snatch children from the town of Al-Harjala in the Damascus area and blackmail their families to secure their release.

"The suspects Ammar Z and Ramiz C and Ayat F were arrested, and they were brought to the Al-Kiswah district police station... during their interrogation, they confessed to planning the kidnapping of several children in coordination with terrorist persons residing outside the country," the ministry wrote in a statement.

"The arrested will be brought to the competent judiciary, and the search is still going on for the rest of those involved in the case."

It comes after the kidnap of eight-year-old Fawaz Al-Qetifan last November in the southern Syrian province of Daraa, leading to outrage across the country.

The kidnappers released the boy three months after snatching him on his way back from school after his family handed over a 400 million Syrian lira ($110,000) ransom, according to reports.

The Assad regime was widely criticised for failing to free the boy and the general lawlessness in government areas where kidnappings and assassinations are rife, blamed partly on regime militias.

Kidnappings are particularly common in Daraa province, a former opposition stronghold taken over by the Assad regime in July 2018.

Iranian and regime militias rule large parts of the area.