Sat 20 Apr 2019

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Thefts and Murders on the Rise in Idlib

Market dynamics in the city of Idlib – June 6, 2017 (Enab Baladi)

Market dynamics in the city of Idlib – June 6, 2017 (Enab Baladi)

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In Idlib governorate, murders and armed burglaries increased in the past a few weeks, the majority of which were aiming at theft amidst a state of chaotic security that is none but life-threatening.

The latest crimes targeted citizens and displaced people in Idlib, for the most horrific of these cases was the murder of a displaced young woman and her brother in a camp to the east of the governorate after their family received a certain sum of monetary donations.

While the security chaos upsurges and the number of victims increases, the security services are helpless, unable to put a limit to the gangs accused of these crimes.

Top Crimes in March 2019

In March 2019, Enab Baladi documented several murders in Idlib governorate, on top of which was the death of the young woman Abeer and her brother Ahmad, based in the “Aleppo Labieh” camp in northern Idlib. The siblings were stabbed to death by four persons on March 28.

The murder aimed at theft, after Abeer and her family, originally from eastern rural Homs, received a sum of money, following the spread of a video showing their deteriorating financial status in the camp.

On March 29, two thieves broke into a house in the town of Mardikh, eastern Idlib. Knowing that the men are at the mosque for the Friday prayers, they stole two pieces of gold, according to the Kafr Nabl News network.

In his house in the al-Jamia’a neighborhood, Idlib, a young man, in his twenties, was shot to death by unidentified men on March 28, along with a child, who died on the same day receiving several bullets from unidentified persons in Babisqa, near the Bab al-Hawa crossing, northern Idlib.

On the same day, March 29, a man, in his seventies, was found dead, after being stabbed about 20 times in the town of Bara, Mount Zāwiya in rural Idlib, and the preliminary investigations indicate that theft was the murder’s objective.

Last week, a merchant, who provides car decorations, was killed by a young man due to a dispute between them in the city of Sarmada, northern Idlib.

Prior to this incident, the dead bodies of two young men were found; both were shot to death. The first body was discovered in an area near Kafr Basin, in the eastern part of the governorate, and the body of the second young man was found near the city of Ariha, in the western part of the governorate.

Security Undertakings

For its part, the security service, affiliated with the “Salvation Government”, which controls Idlib and its countryside, has announced, on March 29, the arrest of four men, suspected for committing the murder against the young woman and her brother, adding that “[its elements] have managed to obtain a few evidences that might lead to the perpetrators and that the investigations are yet being run seeking to reveal the details of the murder.”

However, the rest of the crimes have been filed against unidentified persons in the shadow of the increasing number of armed burglaries, thefts and murders while security prosecutions and investigations are ongoing on the part of the police stations in all the affected areas.

According to Mulham al-Ahmad, the public relations official of the “Salvation Government”, the government’s Ministry of Interior is working on to apprehend the perpetrators behind the crimes and bring them before the concerned judiciary system.

On November 29, 2018, the Ministry of Justice of the “Salvation Government”, endorsed the death penalty against people charged with thefts and kidnappings in Idlib governorate as to limit the proliferation of these crimes.

“All those who have been proven as guilty for participating in, helping or monitoring with a gang of kidnapping or armed burglaries shall meet a death penalty, let them be civilians or militants,” the government declared in a statement.

The decision followed the spread of kidnappings and armed burglaries in the past eight months as a means for getting ransoms, in addition to armed burglaries of money, referred to as “logging” in the statement.

Activists and officials of the local councils, whom Enab Baladi met for a detailed investigation in October 2018, attributed the phenomenon to the spread of masked militants, especially those of “Tahrir al-Sham”, which the “Salvation Government” is accused of being its political apparatus.

Masked Murderers: Criminals Hiding behind the “Litham”

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