Robbery sweeps Syria’s contested areas


Evacuated houses in Syria are being robbed. Activists

ARA News 

Damascus, Syria – Amid the three-year crisis in Syria, many moral issues have been under debate, especially in the abandoned or destroyed neighbourhoods of contested areas.

Robbery is one of these controversial issues; as perpetrators are unknown though videos published here and there on media channels or social media point fingers to the Syrian regime’s soldiers and National Defence militia members.


According to reports, pro-Assad fighters steal domestic basics, even electric wires and wooden doors, as well as furniture, especially electric gadgets, from contested and completely or partially regime-held areas to use them at their houses or sell them cheaply.

Robbery here is an organized process where the Syrian Army soldiers control an area after which then arrives the National Defence Militia entering the area with military or private vehicles who then begin  stealing everything, based on some reports.

Lack of documentation of such practices, except for some photos and videos, makes them look like individual acts that cannot be linked to bigger institutions or groups.

People Involved

Not only members of the Syrian Army, Defense militants and other armed groups, but also people who are not affiliated with any conflicted group steal without being held responsible.

In Rif Dimashq (countryside of Damascus), Abu Mohammad talked to ARA News about a truce that took place between the regime and the opposition for hours, only to allow civilians to return to their houses and collect some private property.

“I lost the electric gadgets as well as some furniture,” said Abu Mohammad, asserting that some strangers were breaking into the closed houses to steal primarily gas cylinders.

“I can sell you the gas cylinder for only 2000 Syrian Pounds,” a strange young man said to me.

Abu Mohammad pointed out that amid the chaos, gas tubes are stolen to be used for trade and barter.

Robbery.. Confidential Agreement

“In one of the Damascus neighbourhoods where clashes took place for more than a year, a sudden truce occurred,” said activist Abu Nidal.

Speaking to ARA News in Damascus, Abu Nidal pointed out that it was a robbery agreement between the pro-Assad gunmen of the National Defence, who controlled the southern part of the neighbourhood, and the opposition forces there, who controlled the northern part.

“They stopped fighting to steal the rich area,” he said.

Recognizing Stolen Goods

Many local activists asserted that stolen furniture and gadgets were exposed in some newly established black markets spread in many areas in Syria.

Many campaigns were held to close such markets. However, thieves found another solution for this. They sold items at approximately the same market price so people would not say “they are stolen”.

Amidst the current chaos in Syria, robbery and black markets seems to flourish, and the displaced civilians seem to lose all private properties the moment they evacuate their houses fleeing violence.


Reporting by: Adel Hassan

Source: ARA News



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