Trigger warning: Kidnapping and abuse.
If you use the hashtag #freefawaz or #savefawazal-Qaitfan, you will be able to find information about him. Though the details are minimal, it is reported that Fawaz was kidnapped by one of the military gangs in Syria on his way back from school in November. This happened in Fawaz’ hometown in Daraa, but there is little to no coverage of this kidnapping. To this day, Fawaz is still not safe with his family and is still suffering at the hands of his kidnappers. Fawaz’s abductors have released a video to his family where he appears almost naked, beaten and in an enormous amount of pain. I will not be hyperlinking or adding the gruesome and brutal video to this article for obvious reasons. Yet, you can hear Fawaz crying and begging for them to stop – I do not recommend you go looking for this distressing video or that you send it to others. Fawaz just needs you to spread awareness and help him not watching this distressing time in his life.
The kidnappers have requested a large sum of money from the family, 50 million Syrian Liras. The family sold their land and everything they owned, but it was still insufficient. The abductors refuse to accept anything less than what the family has. At the moment, Fawaz and his family need national and international aid.
This story is not being covered by major outlets, not even Al Jazeera, but is being spread on online platforms and by activists. The UN or other significant humanitarian associations are yet to step in and help.
A well-known Syrian actor, Abdulhakeem Qutaifan, has also posted on Facebook asking and pleading for Syrians to help free the child as soon as can be. You can find the video and one other post on Abdulhakeem’s Facebook page about Fawaz. Not only this, different people have taken to TikTok, Twitter and other social media platforms to help Fawaz. I have linked an explanatory TikTok video in English, explaining the situation you can spread around. This TikTok video does not show any graphic scenes but summarises what I have written in this article. This would be an ideal video to share with those who do not enjoy reading.
There is an obvious concern that if Fawaz’s family sends the money, it can increase these abduction and ransom crimes, especially in a country filled with strife, war and economic crisis. Yet, we can argue that unless there is another method to free Fawaz, sending money is the only way Fawaz’ family can bring their son home. The main concern is to get Fawaz home alive to start his treatments.
You must be aware that some individuals may use this brutal incident to collect donations that will not be sent to help Fawaz. At the moment, there is no official donation line, which we know of, set for the help of Fawaz. But, please do keep spreading awareness on any platform you can. When you share this crisis, tag large humanitarian organisations or media outlets in these posts. If these organisations were to speak up about this crisis, there could be a better or stronger plan to #savefawaz.
Remember, just because you haven’t seen the video or because large outlets are not covering this does not mean this is fake. I have seen many comments like this. Yet, on the minimal chance, this crisis is fabricated, we should be happy that Fawaz is safe. But since this is highly unlikely, wouldn’t it be better for you to try and help Fawaz and get him home safe.
After recent news surface, we are now aware, Fawaz has been released. With all this information in mind, remember it took too long for Fawaz to be returned home. Fawaz’s story is not the only one out there. Many countries are suffering without international aid. We need to step up more and create a more inclusive and safe society for those around the world. This has been happening in Syria since the 2011 civil war and they have always been the centre of turmoil.
He was released on Saturday after his family had given up the desired sum to the gang who abducted him. Fawaz’ health seemed to be good and he has already given a TV interview. Police have managed to arrest four suspects but always ensured that preserving Fawaz’ life was first priority – as it should be.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR): “His abduction has finalised with a happy end after his release and return home. However, the fate of hundreds of kidnapped Syrians remains unknown, as their cases have not been publicised.Syrian boy Fawaz reunited with parents after hefty ransom paid – 5Pillars (5pillarsuk.com)