Abdel Razzak El-Laz was born in 1960 in the eastern countryside of Aleppo to an educated and middle-income family. His mother worked as an educator while his father was an employee and imam.
Abdel Razzak studied Arabic literature at the University of Aleppo for a couple of years, and then joined the military academy, graduating as a policeman in 1985. "Young people in those days were eager to enter military academies as a result of media reporting about officers and their achievements against the Zionist enemy and so on. People from the countryside often sought governmental jobs. City folks, however, would have their own businesses and industries. This applies to all countries of the world because a society is a series of complementary chains serving each other.”
Abdel Razzak says that he began to feel sectarian discrimination after he entered the military academy. “Our class had around 3500 students of all disciplines with more than 3000 Alawite community members. When we graduated and started to work, some of the Alawite intelligence officers started to exert their power over us. This was especially the case after the fabrication of the1980s events that they had attributed to the Sunni community in order to control the country and its resources.”
Abdel Razzaq believes that the police institution is honorable one and that it is governed by respect and by disciplined relations structured according to military hierarchy. However, he feels that the ruling regime made it into something hollow, depleting its security and social service content until it gradually became a repressive apparatus. He says, “We became afraid of each other and we obsessed over machinations and informers. We used to make a point of not meeting Sunni officers without the presence of a superior Alawite officer in the room, so as not to raise any suspicion.”
In January 1986, some police officers, accompanied by intelligence and army officers, took part in a campaign to confiscate money from the owners of goldsmith shops, currency exchange shops and from business people. "I remember exactly what Rifaat al-Assad did with gold traders, currency traders and some businessmen in 1986. He sent groups of defense brigade officers, police, intelligence and political security members to Aleppo, Damascus and other main cities to confiscate their money in Aleppo. Before that campaign, the value of the Syrian pound against the US dollar was about 10 liras to the dollar. Its value immediately decreased afterwards to 30 Syrian pounds per dollar, and as such, people began to smuggle their money out of the country as a deliberate act of sabotage."
Abdel Razzak says about corruption in the police, “When all administrative, educational, economic and other state structures are corrupt, and when low salaries do not cover the cost of living, corruption will become rampant despite the presence of honest officers and officials. Such people do not stay in office, often because of their lack of cooperation within corruption rings.”
A system of accountability existed regarding police officers, and consisted of demotion of rank, transfer or demobilization. However, a blind eye was always turned towards Alawite officers, no matter how serious the mistakes they made, and they were transferred only when their reputation worsened. Unfortunately political, administrative and moral corruption became hegemonic in the State itself and we felt tension up until 2011 when people revolted and matters became out of hand. Those who controlled the State weren't able to control anything anymore.
Abdel Razzaq was appointed as a trainer at the Police Academy between 1985 and 1991. Later, he served as an officer in the Dummar area Police Department in Damascus for four more years. He also served in several areas and departments during which time his military grade increased. In 2009, he became an inspector at the Central Commission for Control and Inspection, then became a brigadier and was appointed the director of the Cultural and Moral Guidance branch at the Ministry of Interior. His responsibilities included receiving complaints from the Syrian provinces. After things worsened in Syria in 2012, Abdel Razzak left the country having refused to participate in the repression of rebellious regions.