Arrested in 2013 | Syrian doctor and chess champion “Rania Al-Abbasi” her husband and six children are still in regime detention centres • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Arrested in 2013 | Syrian doctor and chess champion “Rania Al-Abbasi” her husband and six children are still in regime detention centres

SOHR renew its appeal to the international community to exert pressure on the Syrian regime to disclose fate of tens of thousands of detainees and forcibly disappeared people

Despite the subsiding violence and battles throughout Syria, arbitrary arrests of civilians and politicians remain a major weapon used by the tyrant regime for stifling voices that have been all along calling for freedom and democracy. Meanwhile, the issue of detainees has been neither addressed appropriately nor reached an end for several reasons, the most prominent of which was the politicisation of this issue. Since the first spark of Syrian Revolution in March 2011, regime authorities persecuted everyone that called for freedom and criticised the Syrian regime’s policy, disregarding all international efforts which stressed the importance of dialogue with the aim of reaching a political settlement based on the international resolution, specially Resolution No. 2254.


The case of Rania Al-Abbasi, which SOHR has been monitoring and tracking since first arrested, is one example among thousands of cases of detainees and forcibly disappeared people whose fate remains unknown, despite all appeals to supervise, surveil and inspect regime prisons which are more akin to “Guantanamo,” so that the fate of detainees will be disclosed.


We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), renew our unconditional support to all victims of repression and all people who have been arrested and detained and tortured only for their believes and calls for freedom.


We also condemn the exploitation of the detainees’ issue by some actors for political gains and narrow interests, and we express our rejection of politicising this issue.


As well as supporting the Syrian chess champion “Rania Al-Abbasi,” her husband and children, who have been all detained by the Syrian regime, we would like to highlight the plight of all detainees and stress that their issue tops our priorities, and we also confirm that we will never allow human rights to be turned into a bargaining chip for serving private and narrow interests, especially the rights of the Syrian people to enjoy living in a democratic country away from violence and bloody conflicts.


Rania Al-Abbasi has represented Syria in Arab and international championships of chess, and she was named by the International Chess Federation as the best Syrian player ever.


In an exclusive SOHR interview with Rania’s brother, Hassan Al-Abbasi said “Rania was arrested in March 2013, as her husband had offered financial assistance to a displaced family who came from Homs and settled in her clinic in Dummer neighbourhood, three kilometres away from Damascus, as they wanted to help them due to their dire living conditions. One of this family’s sons had been arrested for belonging to the ‘Free Army,’ but neither my sister nor her husband aware of his affiliation. After this son was arrested at a regime security checkpoint, he confessed to receiving financial aid from Abdul Rahman, Rania’s husband, so the regime security service later arrested Abdul Rahman from his house. After investigations for two days, Rania, her six children and the nurse who was working in the clinic were arrested for ‘helping the displaced family.’ I do not know the fate of Rania, her husband and children.”


Via the Syrian Observatory, Mr. Hassan has appealed to all relevant bodies to help his family to set the children, who have nothing to do with such charges, free immediately. He also emphasised that the arrest of these minors is a blatant violation against the rights of children and all human rights.


Mr. Hassan has also called for conducting a fair and public trial to Rania and her husband, stating that some authorities have ironically accused Rania and her husband of trading in artifacts and antiques. “Everyone who has dealt with doctor Rania, can never believe these fabricated accusations,” added Mr. Hassan Al-Abbasi. He stated that Amnesty International had adopted and championed this case, but nobody has yet mediated or communicated with the Syrian regime to release Rania or disclose her fate.


The names and date of birth of Rania’s children are as follows:


  • Dima: 1999.


  • Entisar: 2000.


  • Najah: 2002.


  • Alaa: 2005.


  • Ahmed: 2007.


  • Layan: 2011.


Rania’s brother has confirmed that “when Rania and her children were arrested, they were held in the 215th Branch in Kafr Susah area in Damascus, before all connections with them have been cut off until today. Since the events of Hama in 1981, tens of members of my family were arrested, where some of them died under torture while communication with some others was lost.”


SOHR has documented several testimonies of detainees who told about horrific practices and methods of torture by the guards of regime prisons. Accordingly, we renew our appeals to the international community to exert pressure upon all conflicting powers in Syria to disclose the fate of tens of thousands of detainees and forcibly disappeared people and address the issue of torturing and abusing them.