The city of Qardaha, the hometown of President Bashar al-Assad, is enduring the impact of a major dispute involving members of the Assad family and others from the Badeea family. The row has escalated to involve the use of medium-sized weapons to terrorize the other side in a reflection of the security breakdown and the power struggle in the regions where the Assad regime does not have control.
Majed al-Raie, a Qardaha resident, said the reason for the dispute was Jaafar, the son of Tariq Badeea al-Assad, who got into a verbal argument with Raie as they were passing in the street.
Raie added that Jaafar left his car and threatened to kill him with a pistol, and that after that Jaafar came with his father Badeea al-Assad and a number of others and attacked Raie, who in turn started to attack and strike them.
According to Raie’s story, the dispute developed to the point that Bashar Badeea al-Assad, Tareq’s brother, intervened along with Bassil Ghiath al-Assad. Raie claimed that the Assads came with 500 fighters and motor vehicles with “Assad’s Syria” written on it, along with Dushka machine guns.
Raie added that his brother, who is a fighter in the Republican Guard, was arrested and beaten by Assad family members, adding that he and his brother were both abused and that they threatened to drag his brother through the streets of Qardaha.
Raie said that Assad family members surrounded his house for five days, and that in the night they entered the house and raided its contents. He said that no one from the regime security forces intervened to protect him from the family.
He said that he had submitted a complaint against the Assad family, but that the “officer was sleeping on the complaint.”
Lattakia province is one of the most important regions for the Assad regime, and there are a large number of militias there fighting under the regime umbrella. However, these forces have been known to behave like a “state within a state” given their relative independence and the fact that they do not officially fall under the authority of the regime authorities.
The activity of the militias in Lattakia has increased over the last two years, and they have become the de facto rulers of the province.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.