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Sweida: Military Intelligence Branch Attacked following Abduction of Anti-regime Activist

Al-Sair Square in the city of Sweida – July 26, 2018 (Enab Baladi)

Al-Sair Square in the city of Sweida – July 26, 2018 (Enab Baladi)

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The city of Sweida is bearing witness to a state of severe tension, in the aftermath of an attack conducted by local armed groups on the Military Intelligence Branch, following the kidnapping of an anti-regime activist in front of his workplace.

The finger of blame is directed at the security branches in the area.

Today, On Monday, June 17, Enab Baladi’s correspondent for Sweida reported that gunmen have kidnapped the activist Muhanad Shihab ed-Din in front of his workplace yesterday, June 16.

The reporter added that the Military Security Branch is being accused of the kidnapping, while the true identity of the kidnappers has not yet been revealed.

Several of the branch’s personnel have referred to the activist’s workplace in the past a few days, demanding information on him, said the reporter.

Following the kidnapping incident, the vicinity of the Military Intelligence branch, in Sweida city, was a target to the extensive shooting, accompanied by the spread of local armed groups in the area, who gave the branch a brief respite, until today’s morning, to release the anti-regime activist.

The militants of the Military Intelligence Branch started a shooting frenzy following the spread of the local armed groups in the surrounding of their post, Suwayda 24 network mentioned, adding that both sides exchanged fire and an ambulance was heard, heading to the site as injuries were reported.

The activist Muhanad Shihab ed-Din is famous for his anti-regime opinions, which his personal account on Facebook elucidates, where he explicitly attacks the Syrian regime and the violations it is committing in Syria.

The activist has lately mourned the “revolution’s goalkeeper” and its singer Abdul Baset al-Sarout in a post on his Facebook account, knowing that the al-Sarout died in the battles of northern rural Hama, under the command of Jaysh al-Izza (Army of Glory).

According to Suwayda 24, the local armed groups have detained over 10 personnel of the security intelligence and captured cars, demanding the immediate release of the activist Shihab ed-Din, following the accusations against the Military Intelligence Branch.

The armed groups, the network added, threatened with escalation, while the head of the branch refuted the apparatus’ responsibility for the incident.

The governorate of Sweida has been suffering a state of security chaos since last year, which started to inflate a while ago, under the security forces’ failure to overcome the condition.

In April, Suwayda 24 documented 18 kidnappings of civilians in March 2019, blaming unidentified sides.

Late in February, Sweida has witnessed the abduction of 15 security and police personnel by “unidentified gangs,” which followed the arrest of the father of one of the gangs’ leaders by the security forces.

These gangs are conducting the kidnappings at the Elmismyah checkpoint, northern Sweida.

The situation triggered the local armed groups and social committees to call on the security entities to shoulder the responsibilities they have in addressing the gangs’ issue, who repeatedly conducted kidnappings in the governorate.

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