Salamiyah city has faced systematic and daily kidnappings since the 2012, with many families in the city and its countryside – regardless of political affiliation – suffering from the lucrative trade.
A number of people who paid ransoms to free their children from abduction revealed to Madar al-Yawm that the payment swap often takes place inside the city’s bus station – a place regularly patrolled by police.
Besides the presence of police patrols, several armed groups are located a few hundred meters to the west of the station, linked to each other by their connection to the Salameh family, located in the Zahr Almagher area in the southern outskirts of the city.
Most of those who were interviewed hold the Salameh family responsibile for the kidnappings in and around the city.
According to a member in the National Defense Militia, all voluntary formations in the city – around 6,000 fighters – coordinate all their movements with the Salameh family.
According to some victims and family members, most abductions take place in the ‘horror triangle’, an area which extends from the Homs-Hama Highway (west of the city), to the village of Khnefis (south west of the city) and Raqa-as-Sabil Highway (east of the city). Kidnappings are also prevalent inside the city's neighborhoods.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer