MINBEJ, Syria — Rebels drove the much-feared Syrian security forces out of the northern city of Minbej in July, but as calm returned to the streets, so did the criminals.
The victorious rebels are now slowly rebuilding Minbej’s police force to combat the rise in crime, which ranges from theft to murder, but due to a severe lack of funding and equipment, face a mammoth task.
A unit comprising around 50 “revolutionary police” has been formed to restore law and order to the city, which lies near the border with Turkey and 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the key battleground city of Aleppo.
The fledgling force is headed by Abu Mohammed, a police chief who defected from the regime in another part of Syria and ended up in Minbej.
“There are some citizens who think that freedom means that there is no system — no!” Abu Mohammed told AFP in an office in the city’s main administrative building.
“Of course, from the time of the liberation of Minbej until now, there have been mistakes and violations and crimes happening, and the number of bad people is starting to grow in the absence of authority to stop them,” he said.
“Therefore, the idea was to organise the police force, the revolutionary police, to fight violations and crimes happening in this city.”
The members of the new force all defected from the regime but had not been involved in “carrying out actions against the protesters, against the people,” Abu Mohammed stressed.
The force is currently limited to police with prior experience, and new recruits are not yet being trained, he said.
more in the article