The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Assad regime has used enforced disappearance as a strategic weapon of warfare, noting that at least 98,000 people have been forcibly disappeared in Syria since the start of the revolution in March 2011.
In a report issued on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared on Friday, the Network said that no fewer than 144,899 people are still detained and forcibly disappeared in Syria.
According to the report, the Assad regime detained 128,417 people, including 3,507 children and 7,852 women, while the hardline militant groups detained 10,721 people, including 349 children and 461 women. Of those, 8,715, including 326 children and 402 women, were detained by the ISIS extremist group. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham detained 2,006 people, including 23 children and 59 women.
The monitoring group pointed out that the PYD militia has detained 2,907 people since March 2011, including 631 children and 172 women.
According to the report, the Assad regime disclosed the fate of about 931 detainees out of approximately 83,000 people it has detained since March 2011. The regime issued death notices for the 931 deceased detainees – among them nine children – but refused to hand over the bodies to their families.
Around 65 percent of the arrests have turned into enforced disappearance as their families know nothing of their whereabouts or fate. The Assad regime’s security branches deny they carried out any of these arrests, while many families do not dare to ask the Assad regime’s security apparatuses about the fate of their loved ones for fear of reprisal.
The Network noted that in early 2018, the Assad regime begun issuing death notices for the deceased detainees without disclosing any information as to how the detainee died except the date and time of death.
The report stressed that the Assad regime is responsible for the overwhelming majority of the cases of enforced disappearance, pointing out that there is no way to compare the regime with any other party in this regard.
The Network called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss this serious issue as the lives of about 98,000 people are at huge risk, adding that the issue terrorizes the entire Syrian society.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International called for unified international action to support the families of the forcibly disappeared in the prisons of the Assad regime as well as to address the consequences of the their disappearance. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)