SYRIA INTERVIEW: DOCUMENTING DEATHS FOR 6 YEARS — “THEY DON’T STOP SO WE CAN’T EITHER”

SYRIA INTERVIEW: DOCUMENTING DEATHS FOR 6 YEARS — “THEY DON’T STOP SO WE CAN’T EITHER”

“What pushes me to work despite all of the difficulties is my love for my country, Syria, and its people”
Fadel Abdul Ghani of the Syrian Network for Human Rights speaks to Syria Direct:
BOMBING, CHEMICAL WEAPONS, & “WORLD’S WORST RATE OF TORTURE-RELATED DEATHS”
Last week, the Syrian Network for Human Rights issued its 2016 report, which documents human rights violations by everyone participating in this war. When you look back at the past 12 months, what are your conclusions about 2016 in relation to other years of this war?
 
In 2016, we lost 17,000 Syrians, but the level of casualties is lower than previous years. The main reason for the drop is the significant number of displaced civilians across Syria this year.
 
We often get questions along the lines of: “How is it possible that the 13,000 barrel bombs that hit Syria this year only killed so many civilians?” This year, barrel bombs not only claimed many lives, but also destroyed buildings and infrastructure. However, due to the fact that Syrians have relocated to other regions or abroad, the number of casualties is less, even though the level and frequency of bombing are the same as they have been for years.
 
We didn’t notice a big difference in the number of deaths due to torture in regime prisons. The regime has continued its practice of torture, often resulting in death, in their prisons. There are approximately 90,000 in regime prisons alone, about 500 of whom died due to torture last year alone. It’s a terrifying figure. The rest of the parties [involved in the conflict] have approximately 20,000 prisoners.
 
Syria has the world’s worst rate of torture-related death. No other country comes close. Those who have died due to torture are included in the total number of casualties.
 
Additionally, there are unlawful arrests, which have continued at the same pace for the last few years, with 10,000 arrested by the regime last year, also a horrifying number.
 

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