After the Free Army factions gained control of Aleppo and its closeby towns in June 2012, there was a need of security management in the area. This resulted into the Free Army to directed dissident some police officers, to establish dispersed entities which however failed in managing and organizing their duties and operations. Preparations for the establishment of a police force began in September 2012, after requests from parents, to organize and conduct security operations in the area. Some dissident police officers attempted to form it through field visits to villages and towns.
Their operations began around the end of 2012, when they were still limited to patrols and outposts established by independent civilians and dissident police officers. According to the statements of the Aleppo “Free” police chief , Brigadier Adib Shalaf, explains the emergence of this peculiar policing entity. Frequent visits to the cities and towns, contributed to the activation. Other dissident police officers who joined the group, started to open stations which would later be annexed to form an what resembles a traditional Policing institution. This trend started in Tel Refaat to expand to the district of Paradise in the city, and saw aspiring ‘Free’ police officers joining the new independent organisation, with the trend lasting longer than a year.
Aleppo now has 54 “free” police stations, 20 in the western countryside, three in the south, 13 in the northern countryside, and five administrative centers. Work has now stopped within the city’s 12 centers, and its components have been distributed to rural centers
The number of centers fell to 40 after the cessation of the city centers, which were in the neighborhoods of: Shaar, Salihin, Paradise, Hajj Bridge, Saif al-Dawla, Ansari, Salah al-Din and Bab al-Nayrab, as well as detachments in Hananu and other neighborhoods. The British government suspended a foreign aid project after an investigation by the BBC revealed that funds were going to extremists in Syria.
Adam Smith International, the British company that runs the project, has denied the allegations. The company has been running the project since October 2014. Britain was one of six donor countries to fund the project, which provides community policing to areas controlled by opposition militants in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib and Deraa. The commander of the “Free Police” in the countryside of Aleppo, Brigadier Adib Chlaf, said that the British government suspended its share of temporary support for the free police operating in all regions of Syria, from the beginning of December, until the verification of false allegations received In British media reports relied on reporters working in the regions of the system.
The British Foreign Office said on Sunday it had stopped financing the Justice and Community Security project known as Ajax, which provides support to the Syrian Free Police, which is deployed in a number of liberated Syrian areas. The British decision came against the backdrop of information published by the British network “BBC”, accused the free police to deal with the militant Islamic factions, in addition to accused of human rights violations, and financial corruption.
For his part, Brigadier General Shalaf denied the information contained in the media reports, which talked about the arrival of funds for armed factions, including “the movement of Noureddine Zanki,” for example. “We have a tight financial system, and no amount is disbursed except by full paper and data, and the expenses are documented on a regular basis,” he said. He added: “There is ongoing monitoring and inspection by the Adam Smith International executing the project on the financial file provided, and the statements proved false allegations against us.” “As for the report, we do not know what evidence they used to use the information, nor do they have any real evidence that the police committed free human rights violations or executed executions” he said.
“Free police have been getting support from Adam Smith International since early 2014, and Britain is not the only one to support,” Schlaff said. “There are other countries supporting the project, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Denmark.” His suspension from the support program is only British, and certainly the it action will affect the continuation of the project if they insist on our denial and the validation of false media reports that want to arrest the project for other purposes apparently.
He said: “More than a police station in the countryside of Aleppo, West and Idlib, has been closed during the last period, after the expansion of the Liberation of the Sham in the region significantly, and control of a number of cities and towns Also closed other sections in areas where the movement of Nour Religion Zanki after joining the ranks of the Editorial Board of the Sham, and those sections are not working in those areas so far. ” He added: “We were able to open the center of the city of Dera Azza again after the closure, we always say that the closure decision is not in the interest of civilians.” Al-Shlaf confirmed that the restrictions imposed by the company supporting the free police led to the closure of the police station in the town of Tawamah in the western Aleppo countryside, because a relative of the head of the local council in the town is an element in the Al Nosra Front.
The Free Police in Idlib, Aleppo, Western and Southern Aleppo, and the northern suburbs of Aleppo have 3,300 police and officers, most of them dissident police. There are about 150 police officers. A source from the free police in the countryside of Aleppo said, “The charges against the Free Police caused resentment among the elements and officers of police working in difficult security conditions and dangerous sites, and their positions are subject to direct shelling of the aircraft system and Russia. A few days ago a group of comrades were killed in a raid Air strike targeting the Al-Atareb police station and the nearby market, killing about 100 people, including 13 policemen. Major Maher Mari, Director of the Information Office at the Aleppo Free Police Command, confirmed that the support stopped nearly two weeks ago, and revealed that the support company sent an e-mail to the Commander of Aleppo Free Police Brigadier Adeeb Ahmed Chlaf, informing him of the cessation of support because of the report of BBC.
The source said that the station’s report conforms to what the regime wants in order to eliminate a project or institution that has been in place since 2012. He pointed out that the BBC is the only one of the important international media that has offices in the system. Mari said that the Free Police Foundation provides civil services only to civilians in cooperation with the service councils and civil society organizations, which is a community police, does not have any weapons. It stands at one distance from all the factions on the ground and deals with the Courts that follow the Supreme Court.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered slogans in support of the Free Police and called for their support and stand against the British Foreign Office’s decision to suspend support against the background of the BBC report, which accused of supporting extremists. There have also been many stands of solidarity with the Free Police against the BBC In the Bechiroukrofroma, Ma’arah al-Nu’man, Ghadfa, Hachas, Saskat, Jarjnaz, Maasran and Hayesh, banners were raised supporting the Free Police. In addition, a demonstration in support of the Free Police gathered hundreds of demonstrators in the village of Hawata and Al-Atareb under the slogan “Free police protect us” They raised slogans in support of the Free Police and called for their support and standing with them.