August 2022 | SOHR documents nearly 152 arrests and kidnappings across Syria
SOHR calls for immediate release of detainees and disclosing the fate of kidnapped people
While more voices call for revealing the fate of the detainees and kidnapped people across Syria, arbitrary arrests and kidnaps continue amid “timid efforts” by international bodies, like the United Nations and human rights organisations concerned with the Syrian issue.
As a human rights organisation, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitored and tracked kidnappings and arrests across Syria in the past month. In August 2022, SOHR documented the kidnapping of eight people, including four children, and the arrest of 144 people, including three women.
–Areas under the control of Ankara-backed factions
109 people, including three women, were arrested on different charges, the most prominent of which were “communication with the Kurdish forces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Autonomous Administration, and ISIS cells.” Here is a breakdown of these arrests:
• “Euphrates Shield” areas and their surrounding areas: 18 people.
• “Olive Branch” areas: 91 people, including three women.
It is worth noting that 11 people were released after their families paid levies and ransom and investigations were accomplished, while the rest remained imprisoned.
–Areas under the Syrian regime control
13 people were arrested on different charges, the most prominent of which are “evading the mandatory and reserve conscription in the regime army,” “communicating with foreign bodies,” and “cybercrimes.” They are distributed regionally as follows:
• Six people in Al-Hasakah.
• One person in Daraa.
• Two people in Latakia.
• Two people in Rif Dimashq.
• One person in Deir Ezzor.
• One person in Aleppo.
Meanwhile, SOHR documented the death of three men under torture in the regime prisons and detention centres in August 2022.
–Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration
• 21 people were arrested on different charges.
–Areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions
• One case.
–Areas under control of Ankara-backed factions: Two people were kidnapped by gunmen, some of whom operate under the banner of the “National Army” factions; they are as follows:
• “Euphrates Shield” areas: A person.
• “Olive Branch” areas: One person.
–Areas under regime control: Three people, including a little girl.
–Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration: Three kidnaps of children under the age of 18 by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah,” in Aleppo.
–Areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions: No kidnappings were reported in August 2022.
SOHR has verified the cases of arrests and kidnaps mentioned in this report and documented most of the names. SOHR also confidently estimates that the total number of kidnapped people is much higher. However, some victims’ families preferred to keep the identities of their sons secret, fearing persecution and punishment by the bodies that had arrested and kidnapped them.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), warn against the repercussions of violating and non-complying with international accords signed by Syria, as well as the ongoing indifference by the warring powers in Syria to the issue of detainees and forcibly disappeared. We also appeal to the international community to seriously intensify its efforts to disclose the fate of the detainees and forcibly disappeared people, and identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.
SOHR attaches the highest importance to this issue of detainees and always strives to highlight their and their families’ plight and sufferings. SOHR also warns against using “terrorism” as an excuse to arrest politicians and human rights activists, using laws of counterterrorism to justify arbitrary arrests.
We also call for the inspection of prisons in the entire Syrian geography, especially in regime-held areas, so that the real issue and conditions of detainees are unveiled. Furthermore, the fate of the missing and detainees who have been killed must be disclosed.