The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Al-Balloon prison in Homs | 4,000 detainees suffer bru*tal tor*ture by regime security forces

“Al-Balloon” prison in Homs is one of the toughest prisons of the regime. The prison, like other prisons of the regime, is known for its harsh treatment of detainees and for its various physical and psychological means of torture.

Nearly 4,000 detainees, including military and civilian detainees, and others, are detained in prison until they are transferred to other prisons and security branches in the Syrian provinces.

The prison consists of 30 holding cells and dormitories, each housing nearly 170 detainees. Up to 70% of the detainees are in prison without trials, mostly from the provinces of Latakia, Tartous, Homs, Damascus, Daraa, Baniyas and Jableh.

The detainees are overseen and controlled by other detainees sentenced to life imprisonment, drug dealers and collaborators with ISIS.

A prison survivor tells SOHR his story of suffering in regime detention “Al-Ballon,” saying that there is tight security in the prison and heavy discipline, where there is no permission to speak or even whisper between detainees. The prisoners suffer from congestion in dormitories, thus a number of the detainees in a single dormitory are forced to sleep in a squat position, while others sleep while standing.

The survivor adds that the corridors between the dormitories were overcrowded with detainees who were badly treated inside the prison. In the prison, there was a person from Jableh city who was serving in the “Military Intelligence” Branch in Damascus and was detained on several charges including funding “ISIS,” and “high treason” of Syria.

The man continues, saying that one of his inmates admitted to the regime’s security services that he was selling ammunition to ISIS in Haribisha area in Homs desert, where “ISIS members” are deployed after having received orders from the General Military Intelligence Division in Damascus to send food and fuel to ISIS in the desert, so he sold ammunition also to ISIS after hiding it in car in which the goods were transported.

Al-balloon prison, also called “Al-Robaa’i,” is one of the worst and toughest prisons in Syria run by regime.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian Revolution, the regime security services arrested several Syrian civilians who revolt against Al-Assad and called for toppling the regime.

All regime prisons and detention centres have been known for their heinous torture, particularly the “notorious” Sednaya prison, which the regime turned into a human slaughterhouse for the Syrian opposition.

Reliable sources have informed the Syrian Observatory that the number of people killed, executed and/or died in regime prisons exceeded 105,000 people, SOHR documented 49,398 prisoners by name. Over 83% of the total death toll were killed and/or died in these prisons between May 2013 and October 2015, the period when the Iranian were supervising regime’s prisons.