The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

April 2023 | SOHR documents nearly 1,000 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 April 2023, SOHR documented the kidnapping of 49 people, including four children, and the arbitrary arrest of 947 others, including nine women.





–Areas under the control of Ankara-backed factions


86 people, including six 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:


  • “Olive Branch” area: 30 people.


  • “Peace Spring” area: 53 people, including six women.


  • “Euphrates Shield” area: Three persons.



–Areas under the Syrian regime control


830 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:


  • Deir Ezzor: Six people.


  • Damascus: Six people.


  • Rif Dimashq: Eight people, including three women.


  • Daraa: Six people.


  • Aleppo: 502 people.


  • Hama: Two persons, including a journalist.


  • 300 Syrians were arrested by Syrian regime security services, after having been forcibly deported by the Lebanese security services.



Meanwhile, SOHR documented the death of a man under torture in the regime prisons and detention centres in April 2023.



–Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration


28 people were arrested on different charges.



–Areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions


Three persons.





–Areas under control of Ankara-backed factions: Six people:


  • “Olive Branch” area: Four people.


  • “Euphrates Shield” area: One person.


  • “Peace Spring” area: One person.



–Areas under regime control: 39 persons, including a little girl; they are distributed as follows:


  • Deir Ezzor: 23 people, including a little girl, among them there were 22 persons kidnapped by ISIS.


  • Hama: Eight people kidnapped by ISIS.


  • Daraa: Four people.


  • Homs: Two people.


  • Rif Dimashq: One civilian.


  • Al-Suwaidaa: One person.



–Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration: Three children.



–Areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions: One person.



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 counter-terrorism 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.