This past weekend, a neighbor witnessed gunmen kidnapping Radi al-Saad, a member of the Civil Defense, from his home in the south Idlib countryside.
On Sunday, the day after the abduction, the Idlib Civil Defense issued an announcement “condemning the kidnappings” intended “to kill the working spirit” of the Civil Defense.
The kidnapping is the second of its kind in the past month. In September, the director of the Civil Defense in another Idlib town also disappeared.
Almost all of Idlib province is held by the coalition of rebels called the Victory Army, which has not commented on the two incidents.
Civil Defense director Raed Saleh says the rebels are responsible for protecting first responders serving their community.
“We are calling on them to protect us from kidnappings,” Saleh, who heads the organization in most rebel-held territory in Syria, tells Syria Direct’s Noura Hourani.
Q: Who is responsible for protecting the Civil Defense?
Primarily, responsibility lies with the military factions working on the ground.
We are calling on them to protect us from kidnappings, by placing guards at our stations or by other means.
I direct a message to the Syrian people to stand with the Civil Defense in our time of need so that we can continue our service.
Q: This is not the first kidnapping to target Civil Defense workers. What is the reason for these kidnappings, and do you suspect anyone?
We do not know the reasons for this kidnapping, and we have not accused anyone of responsibility.
The Civil Defense has no conflict with anybody, as our work is primarily humanitarian and we perform a service for people without any discrimination or bias.
Q: What is the security situation in Idlib? How have local authorities reacted to the kidnapping?
The security situation is fine. The judiciary has cooperated and immediately began investigating, but so far we have not been able to find out any information about the identities of the kidnappers or where those kidnapped are located.