Syrian activists and media outlets launched an online campaign calling for the inclusion of the file of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime in the agenda of the Astana talks which began in the Kazakh capital on Monday.
Hashtags used by the activists on social media websites highlighted the issue of detainees and called for their release as was stipulated by all international resolutions on Syria. The activists stressed that the issue of detainees must be on top of the agenda of the talks alongside the issues of ceasefire and humanitarian aid.
The activists cited the stories of former detainees who recounted harrowing details of the suffering and horrors they faced in the prisons of the Assad regime. Those who survived were “almost dead”, the activists said, adding that those who experienced detention are best placed to feel and understand the suffering of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime.
The activists also posted old gruesome photos of the bodies of tens of thousands of detainees who died under severe torture and out of hunger in Assad’s prisons. The photos, leaked by a former regime military photographer codenamed Caesar in 2014, showed skeletal bodies bearing signs of severe torture and emaciation.
Articles 12, 13, and 14 of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 demanded improving the humanitarian conditions before the launch of any negotiation between the warring parties in Syria. The Assad regime’s refusal to implement these articles led to the collapse of Geneva negotiations back in February 2016. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)