The six-year-old Syrian boy seen being beaten in a video that circulated on the internet after he was kidnapped in the south of Syria was released by his captors on Saturday after his family paid a 400 million Syrian lira ($110,000) ransom.
Six-year-old Fawaz Mohammed Al-Qutayfan was kidnapped while on his way to school. He was taken by four people on motorbikes in November. In a video released last week, Fawaz could be seen laying on a bed wearing just his underwear whilst someone hits him repeatedly. He can be heard begging: "Please stop beating me."
At the time his family said they had gathered the ransom money but were awaiting instructions on how to have their son returned to them. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of 400 million Syrian pounds (around $160,000).
After receiving the funds during an exchange on Saturday, the captors left the child in a pharmacy in the city of Nawa, in the Daraa countryside.
The news that Fawaz had been reunited with his family had people all over the world expressing their relief on Twitter following up with the hashtag 'Save Fawaz Al-Qutayfan'.
In an interview with Al-Watan, Fawaz recounted his brutal ordeal at the hands of his kidnappers. He said: "They brought a rope and lifted me on the shed, and there was a man on top, and after they pulled me up, they started beating me with a leather belt."
He described being beaten several times by different individuals and being filmed, in order to threaten his family.
"Then they brought a pistol and a gun, and put the pistol on my head and the gun in my lap, and I started telling my family, 'Do you want to take me or kill me?'"
The kidnapped child, Fawaz al-Qataifan, 8 years old, was released three months and ten days after he was kidnapped from Ibtaa town in Daraa countryside by a gang that demanded a ransom.#فواز_القطيفان #Fawaz_AlQatifan pic.twitter.com/7n3mjxGGdh
— الرادع السوري 🇸🇾🎄 (@syria_rd) February 13, 2022
Fawaz's uncle, renowned actor Abd Al-Hakeem Kuttifan, posted a video of Fawaz being comforted by his relatives.
"Am crying with happiness #savefawaz has been saved thank you God. He has been rescued. Am so relieved for this child #SaveFawaz #SaveFawazAlQatifan," wrote one user.
The kidnapped syrian child #Fawaz_AlQatifan who was abused by his kidnappers finally returns home safely to his family🙏🏻
— Rula AlSabaawi | رولا السبعاوي (@rulasbwi) February 12, 2022
#FAWAZ IS FINALLY FREE
— Hussam Hammoud (@HussamHamoud) February 12, 2022
— Mohamed Al Neser (النسر) (@M_Alneser) February 12, 2022
SOHR reports that there has been an increase in child kidnappings as security deteriorates in Syria, including in Daraa, Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Idlib and Aleppo.