The Levels of Arrests Goes Back to what it was before the Cessation of Hostilities agreement
SNHR has released its monthly report concerning the documentation of arbitrary arrests by conflict parties in Syria.
The report asserts that SNHR is keen on following the highest of documentation standards, and outlines the challenges facing the team in documenting detainees. The detainees families’ reluctance to cooperate might be one of the most notable challenges even secretively and especially if the arrested individual was a female due to a prevalent notion within the Syrian society that doing so would result in more torture and risks.
Also, the report notes that the international community’s and the United Nations’, and all of its organs, failure to press on the Syrian authorities to release even one case (including those whose sentences are over), and even prisoners of conscience, was one of the reasons the Syrian society think it is useless to cooperate in the documentation process. Most of the releases were part of exchange deals with the armed opposition.
SNHR has recorded that no less than 117,000 individuals have been arrested since March 2011 (99% of are being arrested by government forces) these number don’t include prisoners of a criminal background and include arrests cases that are based on the internal armed conflict and mainly due to the opposition activity against the ruling authorities. Additionally, The Syrian government denies that it made any arrests or executed any abductions when asked by the detainees’ families.
The mounting number of arrests is due to a number of reasons such as many arrested individuals weren’t arrested because of a crime they committed, but because their relatives’ involvement with armed opposition factions or providing humanitarian aids. Most of the arrest cases are being conducted randomly and involve people who weren’t involved in the popular protests, relief, or even military activity. Moreover, there are many government-forces-affiliated entities that are authorized to make arrests, many of these entities make arrest without checking with government forces or the judicial authorities with which these entities are affiliated. Also, these entities have its own list of detention centers that judicial supervision. The detainees inside these detention centers are not being treated according to the stated Syrian laws.
The report pointed out that arbitrary arrests made in May were notable for the widespread arrests made by government forces that involved civilians in Damascus suburbs generally and specifically Az-Zabadani and Madaya cities. We documented that government forces have arrested whole families in these areas when they were fleeing to Lebanon or at government-forces-affiliated checkpoints in Damascus. Government forces also continued its conscription policies against university students and government employees in its areas and especially in Hama, Aleppo, and Damascus cities. Also, government forces arrested governed employees from areas that are under the control of other groups as they were passing government forces checkpoints at the main entries of the cities it controls; Hama and Aleppo in particular.
Additionally, government forces carried out raids and arrests in many neighborhoods in Jabla city, located in Latakia governorate. We also noticed that the numbers of civilian being arrested at the Lebanese-Syrian borders have increased during the month of May which took place as civilians were heading from Syria to Lebanon.
ISIS continues to enforce its policy of arbitrary arrests against civilians in its areas. The arrests included those who violated the organization’s forcibly-imposed regulations, owners of phones shops and internet cafes, and civilians who are trying to flee ISIS-held areas to the armed opposition areas.
Additionally, we documented arbitrary arrests of doctors and engineers who work as government employees that were made by ISIS in the recently-seized areas of Der Ezzor city.
In contrast, Kurdish Self Management forces also continues its policy of arbitrary arrests and enforced-disappearance against civilians and political activists who oppose its views. Kurdish Self Management forces carried out widespread arrests that targeted political and human rights activists in Amouda city, located in Al-Hasakah governorate suburbs, and specifically activists who are working with the Kurdish party Yekiti. Also, Kurdish Self Management forces is still conscripting children in its areas and mainly in Afreen city and the near villages in Aleppo suburbs.
We also documented that SNHR have made a number of arbitrary arrests against lawyers and civil activists in Kafr Nobul and Ma’rat An-Numan cityes in Idlib governorate suburbs.
Moreover, armed opposition factions have made atrbitrary arrests against media activists and a number of medical and aid workers. These arrests took place mainly in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus suburbs.
The report says that 843 have been arrested in May including 588 who were arrested by government forces; among them were 513 men, while the rest were 43 children and 32 women.
Also, the report recorded 62 arrests cases made by Kurdish Self Management forces; 58 of them were men while the remaining four were children.
According to the report, armed opposition factions arrested 36 men, one woman, and one children to a total of 38 people during the month of May.
ISIS arrested 92 people including 87 men in addition to four children and one woman, while An-Nussra Front arrested 63 people; 62 men and one child.
Additionally, there were 412 releases according to the report; 329 detainees were released from government forces detention centers, 14 were released from Kurdish Self Management forces detention centers, and 32 were released from ISIS detention centers.
Al-Nussra Front have released 26 people whereas 11 people were released by armed opposition factions.
The report distinguishes between detainees released from different government forces detention centers where 312 cases were released from civil and military prisons while the 17 others were released from security branches.
The report also notes that no less than 216 inspection points have resulted in detention across Syria where most of these cases were recorded in Al-Hasakah governorate. Also, the report documents that government forces executed the highest number of raids followed by ISIS.
The report includes 216 abduction cases whom perpetrators weren’t known. It should be noted that 176 cases of the aforementioned 216 abduction cases took place in government-forces-held areas.
The detainees issue hasn’t seen any notable progress even though it was included in the “Cessation of Hostiles” statement. Therefore, the report recommends that all arbitrary arrests and enforced-disappearance crimes must be halted, and detainees’ families must be allowed to visit their beloved ones immediately.
The report also recommends that a visit should be granted for independent international monitors of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic the International Committee of the Red Cross to the official and non-official government detention centers without setting up any prior arrangements or any restrictions or conditions. Furthermore, A UN committee should be formed to see to the release of the detainees periodically and per to a timetable that must be presented by all the detaining parties and mainly government forces that is detaining 99% of all the detainees.
Additionally, the report recommends that Security Council must monitor the implementation of the following resolution:
Resolution 2042, adopted on 14 April 2012, Resolution 2043, adopted on 21 April 2012, and Resolution 2139, adopted on 22 February 2014 which states and end to the crime of enforced-disappearance, and emphasized that The United Nations and the International Community must uphold their responsibilities with respect to hundreds of thousands of detainees and forcibly-disappeared individuals in Syria.