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Hassakeh Residents Decry Surge in Organized Crime After Civilian Killings

The northern province has witnessed a rise in theft, kidnappings and murder, with no significant efforts to control the spread of crime, Souriatna writes
Hassakeh Residents Decry Surge in Organized Crime After Civilian Killings

The killing of Dr. Elias Ishaq at the hands of unknown assailants in the Hassakeh countryside has resonated widely among locals and in the media, as people expressed their anger about the security breakdown and the rise in crimes, especially theft, kidnapping and killing, in areas under control of the Self Administration.

The security breakdown has increased criticism of the Kurdish Asayish (security) forces and Self Administration members, who claim to be working on regulating the matters and working on arms control to achieve security and stability for its residents. However, many reports have indicated their numerous violations carried out against civilians, in addition to the forced conscription campaigns they carry out.

The Euphrates University announced the death of Dr. Elias Ishaq , a member of the faculty of agricultural engineering, on July 21, 2017, without noting the party responsible for the incident.

In the same context, the activist Mohamad al-Youssef told Souriatna that the body of Ishaq was found dumped in the area of the village of Umm al-Malah near the town of Al-Tuweina on the northern Hassakeh-Tel Tamer road. He indicated that “the university professor disappeared days ago in mysterious circumstances, and then was found killed by unknown assailants within areas controlled by armed men of the Democratic Union Party.”

In addition, Youssef said that “the regime police and criminal security branch said that investigations had determined the killed man was Nazir George Yunan, nicknamed Ninous, the cousin of the victim, without the Self Administration issuing any clarification about the incident which occurred in the areas under its control.”

Crimes managed by organized gangs

Alongside this incident, the number of incidents of killing, disappearance, kidnapping, roadblocks, looting and robbery against civilians and passersby have increased, some of which appear to be organized. This is what the office for fighting crime, part of the Kurdish Asayish forces in the town of Tel Hamees, south of the city of Hassakeh, said.

The Asayish said in a statement that they had “arrested a gang in the Tel Hamees area working to terrorize people and intimidate them with weapons in order to obtain money.”

“A network composed of six people was arrested after raiding their homes. They had been robbing people of their possessions, including motorcycles, money, cell phones and other items, inside the town and in surrounding villages,” it added.

Traders and children are the gangs’ first targets

Residents say that the incidents of theft and robbery have almost become commonplace in the Qamishli countryside, which is under the control of the Self Administration, after five incidents of robbery were recorded on the roads in recent weeks. Most of them targeted traders and farmers returning from selling their crops in the city markets and carrying large sums of money as a result of a whole season’s work.

This issue negatively impacts the price of products, like cumin, in addition to restricting the flow of traffic at night by people afraid of being subjected to these sorts of incidents, according to residents.

Two children in the town of Al-Naem in the southern Qamishli countryside were also kidnapped, one of them killed by the kidnappers. Residents believe the motive behind the kidnapping was to sell the children for a price of $400,000 to human traffickers in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

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.

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