المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

In light of regime’s calls for the return of Syrian refugees | SOHR documents over 50 arbitrary arrests in Rif Dimashq in 2021

Since early 2021, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented that over 51 people, including four women, have been arbitrarily arrested in different areas in Rif Dimashq. These arrests were distributed as follows.

 

  • 12 people, including four women, from Douma city.

 

  • Eight people from Otaya town in eastern Ghouta.

 

  • 13 people from Kanaker and Zakiyah towns in western Rif Dimashq.

 

  • Three people from Harasta city.

 

  • Three people from Hazza town in eastern Ghouta.

 

  • Five sibling men from Ain Tarma town in eastern Ghouta.

 

  • Three people from Kufayr al-Zait town in Wadi Barada area.

 

  • Two people from Zamalka city in eastern Ghouta.

 

  • A man from Assal al-Ward town in al-Qalamoun area on the Syria-Lebanon border.

 

  • A man from the area of Jaramana camp.

 

The Syrian Observatory has documented further details on the circumstances of these arrests, which could be summarized as follows:

 

  • January 16: Syrian regime’s security services arrested three people known by their initials as “R. Z.”, “A. D.” and “Z. R.” from Kanaker town in western Rif Dimashq for unknown reasons, as they were on their way to the capital, Damascus.

 

  • January 21: Syrian regime’s security services arrested two people with settled-status known as “H. M.” and “M. M.” from Kanaker, although they carried security cards issued by the 4th Division, after they had struck reconciliation deals.

 

  • January 24: Members stationed at a checkpoint of the military security service and Air-Defence Intelligence service arrested four people known as from Zakiyah town in western “Z. K.”, “A. K.”, “M. N.” and “B. A.”, while they were heading to Damascus to search for a job.

 

  • January 26: Regime security services arrested a young man known as “A. H.” from Harasta city in eastern Ghouta from his workplace in a sewing workshop for unknown reasons.

 

  • February 2: Regime security services arrested five young men known as “M. K.”, “M. A.”, “Y. D.”, “J. S.” and “H. A.” from Douma city from their houses and workplaces and took them to security branches in Damascus for unknown reasons. It is worth noting that one of the arrested people had settled his situation with security services and joined the 4th

 

  • February 14: Members of a patrol of the Air-Defence Intelligence service stormed the house of a merchant who trade in cattle and vegetables in al-Jalaa street in Douma city centre, where the security members arrested a young man and two civilian women known by their initials as “M. A.”, “S. A.” and “F. K.” and took them to prisons in Damascus for unknown reasons.

 

  • February 16: Regime security services arrested a civilian woman known as “F. J.” and her son “Y. A.”, after storming their house in al-Hajjariyah neighbourhood in Douma city for receiving remittances sent by people living in north Syria region. The woman and her son were taken to regime security branches in Damascus.

 

  • February 21: Regime soldiers stationed at a checkpoint of the Air-Defence Intelligence service near Jadid Artouz town in Rif Dimashq arrested two young men known as “W. A.” and “Q. A.” from Kanaker for unknown reasons, as they were heading to Damascus.

 

  • March 15: Regime security services arrested two young men known as “A. A.” and “A. H.” from Harasta city for unknown reasons, although they had struck reconciliation deals after regime forces had captured eastern Ghouta.

 

  • March 16: Regime security services arrested two young men known as “M. S.” and “Z. K.” from Hazza town in eastern Ghouta for unknown reasons. The two young men were taken to regime security branches in Damascus.

 

  • May 13: Syrian regime’s security services arrested five sibling men known by their initials as “K. Q.”, “A. Q.”, “N. Q.”, “A. Q.” and “S. Q.”, after storming the orchard where they lived in the area between Ain Tarma valley and Kafr Batna valley in eastern Ghouta. The five brothers were arrested over accusations of “harbouring members of the factions during the factions’ control of the region and providing the factions with information on gaps through which the factions managed to unleash an attack on al-Dukhaniyah area to the eastern of Damascus in 2014, especially since the men’s farms were located in the area neighbouring the road between al-Mulayha and Jaraman, opposite al-Dukhaniyah area”. The factions’ attack enabled them to take control of the neighbourhood at that time. The five brothers were released after two months of detention.

 

  • June 13: Members of a patrol of the Air-Defence Intelligence service arrested a young man known as “R. S.” after storming his house in al-Qaytiyyah alley in Jaramana camp.

 

  • June 20: Members of a patrol of the military security service stormed the house of a civilian in Zamalka city which was the major stronghold of al-Rahman Corps during the factions’ control of the region, where they arrested an old man known as “H. Q.” and his son for unknown reasons. The two men were taken to prisons in Damascus.

 

  • July 8: Members of the 4th Division stormed a farmland on the outskirts of Kafr Zait town in Wadi Barada area, arresting two young men known by their initials as “M. A.” and “A. A.”, as well as “A. H.” the son of the mayor of Kafr Zait town.

 

  • August 9: Members of a patrol of the military security service arrested a young man known as “M. A.” from Hazzah town in eastern Ghouta for unknown reasons.

 

  • August 11: Regime security services arrested a young man known as “F. H.” and his wife, after storming their house in the area of al-Abb farms on the outskirts of Douma city.

 

  • September 8: Syrian regime’s security services arrested two young men known as “A. Q.” and “S. S.” from Zakiyah town in western Rif Dimashq. According to SOHR sources, regime security services established a makeshift checkpoint in order to arrest the two young men who attempted to escape, but the security members stationed at the checkpoint managed to arrest the two young men after opening fire on them, injuring one. However, the reasons behind arresting the two young men remained unknown.

 

  • September 16: Regime forces arrested eight people from Otaya town in eastern Ghouta. Some of the arrested people had passed their date of joining the mandatory service to regime’s security branches, while the reasons behind arresting the others remained unknown.

 

  • September 23: Regime security services arrested a young man known as “S. K.” from Assal al-Ward town in al-Qalamoun area on the Syria-Lebanon border for unknown reasons.

 

It is worth noting that the alarming rise in arbitrary arrests in regime-held areas indicates to ongoing repression by regime forces and security services, despite the calls upon the Syrian refugees to return to their homeland which “has become safe”, as regime authorities claim.

 

Also, the Syrian Observatory would like to point out that the cases of arbitrary arrests mentioned in this report have been only the cases that SOHR activists could document by names, as this report does not include other cases arrested arbitrarily in different areas in Rif Dimashq, whose names could not be obtained.

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