In the duration between July and November 2018, the Syrian security services conducted no less than 160 arbitrary detentions of civilians and defectors from the Syrian regular forces throughout the cities and towns of northern rural Homs. The detentions also targeted women and children, according to the field researcher of Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ, who stressed that the security services released the majority of the detainees/captures after a thorough investigation with the people held in custody, some of whom paid sums of money as a bribe to be released.
STJ’s field researcher in northern rural Homs recorded the arrest of up to 15 persons in July, about 35 persons in June, between 50 to 60 others in August, no less than 15 persons in October and about 5 persons in November 2018. All these detentions were undertaken contrary to the reconciliation/settlement deal, which expired early in December 2018.
Under these detentions, the arrest of about ten women and five children was recorded, of whom a woman and her child are yet held at the Military Security Branch.
Quoting several of the detainees’ relatives, STJ’s field researcher reported some of the reasons behind the arrests, including contacting relatives based in Syria’s north, private prosecutions and being relatives to people who defected from the Syrian regular forces. The relatives, interviewed by STJ’s researcher, added that a major number of the detainees were released after a while, no more than three months later. Some of the released detainees paid money to the security services as a bribe through intermediaries and renowned personalities in the region to be released.
The detentions were undertaken by the following services: “The Military Security Branch, the National Security Bureau, and the Political Security Branch.” As for the means, the services resorted to several methods including raiding the wanted person’s house, sending an official letter, summoning the person to the branch prosecuting him/her, or at checkpoints.
STJ published detailed reports on the arrest of former Syrian Civil Defense/White Helmets volunteers and their release in the region, in addition to the detention of ten persons based on a private prosecution