The Justice for Life Observatory said that the Assad regime had released dozens of detainees from its prisons only to recruit them in the ranks of its forces and militias fighting on its side.
The observatory, a monitoring group based in Deir Ezzor, said on Monday that a batch of newly released detainees, mostly from Deir Ezzor, arrived in the regime-held neighborhoods of Deir Ezzor to join regime forces stationed in the city.
The move aims to ease mounting international pressure on the Assad regime to release detainees arbitrarily held in its prisons as well as to replenish its militias, now heavily depleted by over five years of fighting.
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah said on June 11 the Assad regime has freed prisoners on condition that they join its forces upon their release, citing reports from Adra Central Prison near Damascus.
“The Syrian National Coalition is deeply concerned by those reports and calls on the international community, particularly the U.N. Special Envoy and his team, to take a firm stance of the regime’s hideous maneuvers and blackmail tactics it typically uses with regards to the issue of detainees,” Alabdah told Reuters on Saturday.
Alabdah pointed out that those released were not political prisoners but mostly criminal convicts, especially those jailed for drug crimes. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)