On January 20, 2021, Syrian Democratic Forces in al Derbasiya city in the northern suburbs of Hasaka governorate physically and verbally assaulted students from a number of local schools who held a protest against the arrest of seven teachers by the SDF on January 19, 2021, beating and insulting the young protesters, as well as detaining a number of them.
SNHR has documented the detention of 17 students, including six females, by the SDF forces, who beat and insulted the students before taking them to an undisclosed location. We note that all the detained students are children aged between 15 to 17 years old, with their juvenile status not being taken into consideration.
SNHR has obtained videos and photos showing that the SDF violently attacked the demonstration, beating the students fiercely, which seems to indicate a policy of suppression and silencing dissent through the use of military force.
SNHR condemns the SDF’s detention of teachers and the group’s violent treatment of protesting students, considering this to be an assault on their fundamental right to peaceful expression of opinion. We call for the immediate release of the students and for them to receive compensation in payment for the harm inflicted on them.
SNHR confirms that none of the detained students’ family members were informed of the cause of their arrests or of their whereabouts, with their phones being confiscated. SNHR fears that they will be subjected to torture and ultimately classified as forcibly ‘disappeared’ like approximately 85 percent of the individuals detained in Syria.
SNHR notes that about 3,398 Syrian citizens are still detained or forcibly disappeared in the SDF’s detention centers, constituting a grave threat to their wellbeing given the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.