Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday described the Assad regime’s detention system as a “torture archipelago” where the regime have killed or allowed detainees to die under torture while many others continue to suffer in abhorrent prison conditions.
The rights group said that the Assad regime’s recent chaotic release of dozens of detainees constituted a punishment for the hopeful relatives who are waiting for their relatives and deserve answers about the fate of their children.
“Even as Syrian authorities produce a modicum of good news, they continue to punish those living under their despotic rule,” HRW added. It said that no information has been provided about the many others who remain locked away.
The watchdog group pointed out that “images released over the last few days show masses of people gathered under al-Ra’is Bridge in Damascus, anxiously awaiting the potential arrival of their loved ones. Many of these families had seen names of their relatives on lists posted on social media, while others showed up hoping to see a recognizable face.”
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) said that “the heart-wrenching scenes are now coming from Damascus of thousands of Syrian families desperately asking the released detainees about some clues as to the whereabouts of their loved ones and to know whether they are alive or dead.”
“Many of the released suffer memory loss, physical disability or chronic disease, which reflects the horrors they have been subjected to at the hands of the brutal Assad regime,” the SOC said.
The SOC called on the United Nations to take swift action and work seriously to ensure the release of detainees, the disclosure of their fate, and an end to the ongoing carnage in Syria. It also called for serving justice by holding the Assad regime accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that it has been committing over the past several years, and achieve a political transition in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution 2254.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)