The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

From torture in jail, to refuge in Madrid: A Syrian’s civil war story

It’s been 10 years since the start of the conflict in Syria, a war that has killed half a million people, and displaced millions more.

One Syrian who was eventually forced to flee – after spending nearly eight years dodging state police, bombs and bullets – is Muhammed Subat.

The journalist has found refuge in Madrid, but he told Euronews that instead of being able to live the more tranquil life he was hoping for, he cannot escape the memories of what happened to him and his country.

Back in 2011, amid the so-called Arab Spring that was sweeping the region, Muhammed was given “courage and strenght to speak up” when people started removing photos and signs of Bashar al-Assad from the streets.

While he says “there was no fear in the beginning”, that quickly changed. The Syrian regime cracked down brutally on the protests, and Muhammed ended up in prison twice.

He says in those prisons more than 100 people would be crammed into a very small space.

They were tortured with electric shocks and hung from the ceiling for hours, being beaten.

He managed to flee, making his way to Madrid. But out of sight does not mean out of mind to Muhammed. To him, Syria “is my country, my family, my friends. Everything is there”.

Watch Muhammed’s story in the video player above.

In a series of reports on Syria on the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict, each day we are taking a look at the stories people who were forced to flee their country to find refuge in Europe.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and editorial stance of the SOHR.