In an effort to quell the dissatisfaction among pro-regime members on the Syrian coast and address their growing public discontent, particularly on social media regarding worsening living conditions and soaring prices, Assad’s militia has initiated a crackdown on several former officials. These individuals are accused of various crimes, including bribery, forgery, and misuse of public funds.
The Guevara Tartous page, known for its pro-loyal stance, has disclosed the names of 14 arrested former officials, now held in Bassa prison in Lattakia. Among them is Ibrahim Khader al-Salem, the former governor of the city, who previously headed the Criminal Security Department responsible for combating theft in multiple cities and oversaw the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The detainees face charges such as theft, bribery, forgery of official documents, intentional squandering of public funds, fraudulent management of state resources, and other offences, as detailed by the page.
Notably, Salem with nearly 40 years of service in the Assad militia, held various positions, including officer in the Internal Security Forces, head of the Criminal Security Branch in Hassakeh, Idleb, and Damascus, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and commander of Aleppo Governorate Police from 2012 to 2014. He later served as the governor of Lattakia from 2014 to 2021.
Activists claim that these arrests are attempts to divert attention from deteriorating living conditions, particularly the recent spikes in bread and fuel prices. They argue that the move aims to suppress critical voices, especially from the Alawite community, particularly among Assad’s relatives, rather than being a genuine anti-corruption effort. They emphasize that a true campaign against corruption would target officials nationwide, not just in Lattakia.
Expressing skepticism towards the judiciary and those appointing judges, a loyalist activist suggests that the former detainees may face potential extortion or even physical harm. This raises concerns about the militia’s motives, questioning whether the crackdown is a sincere effort to eliminate corruption or a strategic move to eliminate associates who have been involved in oppressive practices for decades.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.