In recent years, weapons have been widely used by Syrian civilians. The use of arms has become necessary for some, under the pretext of "self-defence" in light of the state of security chaos resulting from the situation of war and the absence of a deterrent authority, while individuals and gangs took advantage of the ease of carrying weapons, to carry out violations ranging from theft and going beyond abduction.
She carried the weapon to protect herself and her children!
Um Mohammed (a widow in her 40s and mother of five) told Rozana that she never imagined that she would be accompanied by a weapon of war wherever she went in her hometown in the northern Homs countryside.
She lives with her five children in the house, which she inherited from her husband after he was killed by mortar shell shrapnel in 2013.
“Shortly after my husband died, I began to fear thieves, especially that I was living alone in a house with my children and I had nothing to protect myself with. My brother-in-law suggested that I buy a weapon and carry it with me," she said, about her decision to carry weapons.
"I do not have much money. I and my five children live on what my husband had left to us. However, the fear I felt prompted me to buy a Star 9.14 (Abu Halaqa) pistol, which at that time cost about 130,000 Syrian Pounds (750 US dollars) .
“My brother-in-law has got several pieces since he is trading in weapons. He buys and sells weapons to earn some profit and make a living,” she said. Um Mohammed is not the only woman carrying a weapon, but there are many women who have an individual weapon for the purpose of self-protection”.
She explains how she was trained to use a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle with the help of her brother-in-law, and she joked that she will be soon trained to use the PK machine-gun.
The firing was limited to the expression of joy
Individual weapons were deployed on a small scale between civilians before the revolution, mid-March 2011, varied from those weapons (Kalashnikov) and (pistol), and were used only for happy occasions and weddings, while the Pump action was the most widely used, as a hunting weapon.
Since late 2011 (months after the start of the Syrian revolution), civilians’ carrying of weapons has become common among the civilian population not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army or any of the armed opposition factions), especially when events have evolved to include civilian deaths during peaceful demonstrations by the Syrian regime security forces.
The proliferation of weapons in the hands of civilians has gradually increased over the past seven years, according to the security situation of their areas and the increased incidence of assaults from bandits, thieves, and others.
Incidents of unintentional manslaughter ... And victims are often children!
Involuntary manslaughter rose with the chaotic spread of weapons among civilians in the northern Homs countryside (centre). In the early spring of 2012, a child was accidentally killed by his uncle's gun in the town of Talbiseh (north of Homs and under the control of the opposition).
The child's uncle forgot that his Kalashnikov was unsafe when he pressed the trigger and hit the child directly, which led to his immediate death.
There are several types of Kalashnikov in Syria, at an average price of 233 thousand Syrian pounds (432 US dollars), while the price of the PK machine gun ranges from $ 1500 to $ 2000 according to its quality, while the 9.14 pistol is estimated at 560 thousand Syrian pounds, around 1200 USD.
In late 2013, a 35-year-old man was killed after a conflict between citizens who turned minutes later into a fight and then into a clash with individual weapons. The victim then dispersed them and tried to break the quarrel, which led to his death with a stray bullet from one of the rivals.
Similar incidents have been recurrent in the northern Homs countryside over the past years after the spread of weapons among civilians, amid a complete absence of a security force to deter or control what has become called "chaos of the weapons."