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Idlib town calls for police to return to work after three-month absence

AMMAN: Residents, fighters and civilian administrators in the rebel-held Idlib […]

22 October 2015

AMMAN: Residents, fighters and civilian administrators in the rebel-held Idlib town of Kafr Nabl asked members of the town’s police force to return to work on Thursday, more than three months after Jabhat a-Nusra raided and forcibly closed police stations this past July.

“The people of Kafr Nabl call you to work” the written request presented to former officials of the Free Police read on Thursday, “because of your good work and wonderful presence.”

The requests for “the Free Police to return to work in the city to restore security” come amidst thefts in the town and disorganized traffic patterns, an activist with the Kafr Nabl News Network in the town told Syria Direct Thursday, requesting anonymity in light of the “sensitive situation because of Jabhat a-Nusra.”

The Free Police operating in rebel-held parts of Idlib and Aleppo provinces are defected former regime police officers who organized independent police stations and directorates after the beginning of the revolution.

The calls came more than three months after Jabhat a-Nusra, one of several rebel factions with a presence in the south Idlib town, raided and forcibly closed Free Police stations this past July, arresting security personnel and confiscating weapons. The policemen were later released after promising not to return to work.

The JAN fighters had accused the police “of being corrupt and taking bribes,” the same activist said, denying reports that the raids had been cause by alleged collaboration with western agendas by the Free Police.

After closing police stations in Kafr Nabl and three nearby Idlib towns, JAN did not implement its own police force, though the group has shura (consultative) councils that resolve basic disputes.

While the representative body of civil and military groups invited JAN to meetings over the past week about the return of Kafr Nabl’s police, no members attended and there has been no official response to the overture, a member of the Idlib Province Free Police Command told Syria Direct Thursday.

“There is currently a project to return” to police stations in the town, he added.

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