Residents of Al-Bab, a town on the periphery of Aleppo have said that rebels within the Free Syrian Army (FSA) group are taking advantage of the growing number of kidnappings in Syria to fund their own military operations.
Residents said that the same FSA group that is cracking down on abductions made by gangs of opportunists are also running their own kidnapping operations to raise “funds for the revolution”.
“The FSA know who the rich families are in Aleppo. They watch their homes and movements,” the Telegraph quoted a resident from the area, as saying.
“A man I know, whose father is very rich, was on the pavement when a rebel group forced him into a car and drove away. Two weeks later they called the father and demanded a huge sum of money, I think it was 25 million Syrian pounds [233,700 pounds]. They said on the phone that they didn’t want the money for themselves, but for the revolution,” he added.
An epidemic of kidnappings has reportedly struck Syria, which has forced rebels from the FSA to publicise a helpline number, writing it on walls and placing it on social media. Mohammed, a student at Aleppo University, all sides in the civil war are using the tactic.
“This unit, known as the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq brigade, kidnapped the son of my uncle’s business partner. The group demanded 5 million Syrian pounds for his release,” said Mohammed.
The violence is now reminiscent of the lawlessness and anarchy that gripped Iraq after the invasion in 2003, with kidnappings, mass killings and car bombings becoming near daily events in the capital, the paper added.