Rebels regulate life in Syria's Aleppo

2013-04-12 13:00
Marwan Gayn, one of seven judges the rebel Free Syria Army has mandated to work in Aleppo, poses at the court of Saif al-Dawlah district. (AFP)

Marwan Gayn, one of seven judges the rebel Free Syria Army has mandated to work in Aleppo, poses at the court of Saif al-Dawlah district. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Aleppo - Mohammed has just left court and proudly displays a document, complete with official seal, attesting to his ownership of a shop in Syria's northern city of Aleppo.

Registering a property might have once been a mundane task in the country's former commercial capital, but in the war-torn city, where the rule of law broke down months ago and pillage is commonplace, Mohammed has reason to celebrate.

"It's as if we have a real state," he said, referring to the new machinery of government and justice set up by rebels in those quarters of the city they control.

"Now our rights are guaranteed; everything is official."

Marriages, inheritances, commercial contracts... they are now all passing through courts manned by lawyers and judges who have abandoned the regime of President Bashar Assad and joined the rebellion against it.

There are some 20 rebel brigades operating in Aleppo, and the court is run by the most important among them: two jihadist groups - the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Salafist Ahrar al-Sham - and Liwa al-Tawhid, which is linked to the broad-based opposition National Coalition.

Theft on the rise

And while the commanders of these groups are primarily concerned with waging war against Assad's troops, their presence is also felt behind the lines.

Liwa al-Tawhid, for example, has created schools and set up an electricity authority in an attempt to resupply neighbourhoods deprived of power over nine months of fierce fighting.

"The idea," one rebel commander said, "is that there won't be a single day of vacuum when the regime falls; the administration and [public] institutions must be operational from day one."

But for now, there are more pressing issues affecting the populace in a city struggling to maintain some semblance of public order - theft and looting.

Whether it be ill-disciplined fighters from the rebel Free Syrian Army, or merely common criminals posing as members of the FSA, people are worried about their property.

"Men claiming to be FSA come to steal our things," bemoans Umm Ahmed. And after bombings, "you occasionally see them rooting through the rubble."

And because theft and robberies have been on the rise, Abdullah has come to court.

"I want to move house, so I have come to register all my things in my name so that I won't later be accused of stealing them," he said.

Al-Nusra to impose sharia

Liwa al-Tawhid has set up its own military police to deal with rebel fighters who step outside the law, but the well-armed and highly disciplined Islamist al-Nusra Front, noted for its integrity, holds the most public confidence.

"When a rebel needs to be arrested, people turn to them because they are the only ones with sufficient power," said one rebel fighter.

Al-Nusra is also called upon to adjudicate disputes among other brigades, for example over the distribution of ammunition or of the spoils of war.

But while al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham are praised for their successes on the battlefield and for the humanitarian work they do, they also raise concerns about their political objectives.

Al-Nusra has stated categorically that its aim is to establish an Islamic state in a post-Assad Syria.

"The problem with our brothers in al-Nusra is that they want to put our women in veils overnight, as if this were Afghanistan," said the chief of a Kurdish rebel brigade.

"We have never lived liked this. You can't impose sharia [Islamic law] on us just like that."

- SAPA
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  al-nusra  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.