All of them at the Hands of Syrian Regime Forces
SNHR has published its periodic report on victims who died due to torture for the month of July. The report documents that no less than 18 individuals have died due to torture in July.
The report highlights the de-escalation agreement in Syria, which commenced on May 6, 2017, after it was announced at the end of the fourth round of Astana talks which was held between Russian, Turkish, and Iranian representatives as the sponsoring states of Ankara Ceasefire Agreement. Also, the report sheds light on the South Syria Agreement which was announced by the American and Russian presidents, following the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg. The agreement provided for a ceasefire between the conflicting parties in Syria’s south region, governorates of Daraa, Quneitra, and Suwyada, in addition to the passage of humanitarian aids to the areas included in the report. Nonetheless, breaches didn’t stop, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be most affected should the ceasefire go on, and in particular extrajudicial killing crimes and, more horrendously, deaths due to torture, as rates of deaths due to torture didn’t see any changes from the month prior to the commencement of the agreement. This strongly asserts that there is a ceasefire of some sort on the table, but the crimes that the international community -especially the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian sponsors- won’t see are still going on as nothing had changed.
The report notes that the Syrian authorities the denies executing any arrests and, instead, accuses Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups such as ISIS. Additionally, the Syrian regime doesn’t acknowledge any torture or death-due-to-torture cases. SNHR obtains information from former prisoners or prisoners’ families where most of the families get the information they have about their detained relatives through bribing officials in charge. Syrian authorities usually don’t give back the dead bodies of the prisoners to their families. Also, in most cases, families are scared to go and get the dead bodies of their relatives or even their personal items from military hospitals out of fear of being arrested themselves.
The report sheds light on the difficulties SNHR team encounters in the documentation process on account of the ban imposed against it and the fact that its members are being pursued by various parties. In light of such circumstances, it might be difficult to fully verify deaths as the process remains subject to ongoing documentation and verification.
The report records that 129 individuals have died due to torture at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria since the start of 2017, while 18 individuals died due to torture in July – all of them died at the hands of Syrian regime forces.
According to the report, Aleppo, Damascus, and Damascus suburbs governorates recorded the highest toll of deaths due to torture in July with four each, whereas the remaining death toll is distributed as follows: two in Idlib, two in Homs, one in Hama, and one in Deir Ez-Zour.
Most notable deaths due to torture in July were one engineer, one university student, and one child.
The report affirms that this considerably huge number of victims who are dying under torture every month, with taking into consideration that the actual number of deaths is most likely higher, unequivocally indicates a systematized policy that is being adopted by the head of the ruling authorities. All of the state’s organs, branches, and figures are fully aware of these policies. Furthermore, these policies were enforced in a widespread manner which constitutes crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Finally, the reports call on the Security Council to implement the Resolutions adopted on Syria and hold all those who violate the Resolutions accountable.