Preface: After a year of detention in Syrian Security Apparatus prisons, the detainee, Adel Sayed Ali, was released on August 19, 2017, but he got out with a permanent disability in one of his feet, made him unable to walk well and deprived him of making living for his family again because of the torture practices he was subjected to during his detention in Aleppo and then transferring between the security branches in Damascus. He spoke to Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ about the course of his arrest in October 2017, he commenced by saying:
"I was subjected to various types of torture in the State Security Branch of Aleppo as well as I witnessed the death of several detainees under torture in the State Security Branch and the Raid Squad in Aleppo, as well as the Air intelligence Branch in Damascus. I still remember how elements of the branches were constantly kept saying: we brought you here to die, you all are terrorists. "
Firstly: A Side of the Life of the Survivor Adel Sayed Ali:
Adel al-Sayed Ali, born in Idlib countryside (1970), the head of the family and a father of four children; he worked in the construction field to support his family in Salah al-Din neighborhood in Aleppo, until he was arrested by the Syrian regular forces on December 13, 2016. However, he was arrested while receiving treatment in a hospital in Aleppo, and in this regard he spoke to STJ saying:
"Regime forces imposed a suffocating siege on Aleppo since July 2016, in a time the city was exposed to the most severe aerial and artillery bombardment, aiming to extend its control over the city neighborhoods and arrest civilians as well. Anyway, on December 12, 2016, the regime forces shelled the neighborhood of Salah al-Din, where I was living, and I was seriously injured in the head then I was transported to a field hospital in as-Sukkari neighborhood, I stayed there for several days in order to receive treatment."
Secondly: How was Adel Arrested
Adel, talking about his arrest, said that the Syrian regular forces had succeeded in advancing to as-Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo during the battles that took place between them and the armed opposition factions, specifically on December 13, 2017, as a group of them snuck into the vicinity of the hospital, where he was receiving treatment, and then they surrounded it, and in this regard he continued:
"At about 7:00 p.m., the regime forces cordoned the hospital where I stayed, and then broke into it and kicked out all the injured, the sick and the medical staff, and I was one of them; they indiscriminately assaulted all of us, without caring about the injured whose condition was serious, or even members of the medical staff, and then they accused us of being terrorists. We were about 30 people, and we had two doctors, Dr. Khalid Shinen, and another doctor I don’t remember his name, in addition to five nurses, then the regime agents took us to the security branches in Aleppo in order to investigate us."
Third: "When he Dies, Inform us"
The survivor, Adel, continued saying that he was taken by the Syrian regular forces accompanied by 30 others to the Baath Party Branch in Aleppo, and then transferred among the security and military branches in the city such as the Raid Squad and the State Security Branch, in order to investigate and pressure them to confess that they are "terrorists" or that they are from the incubator environment of terrorism. He noted that they were subjected to all kinds of physical and psychological torture in addition to death threats and settling scores, concerning that he continued:
"Several days later we were transferred to the State Security Branch of Aleppo, as we were subjected to all sorts of torture, I was subjected to Shabah position several times, although I had an old injury in my hands. However, they were beating me in the old wound with an electric cable, they handcuffed me and hung my on the ceiling for three days without any food or drink, as this torture and beatings caused me a handicap in my foot, it made me unable to walk well. I still remember a 50-year-old detainee, he was with us inside the branch, he was always beaten and tortured by the agents with no regard to his old age, while the man begged them to stop beating, torturing and insulting him, and I remember exactly how he told them that he will confess whatever they want, and that all his family members are terrorists, even his mother is a terrorist, but they have not stopped beating him."
Adel pointed out that he witnessed the death of a sick and elderly man identified as Abdallah Hamza at the State Security Branch in Aleppo, as he died given his bad health situation and the lack of medicines, as well as exposing to various types of torture. Prior his death, the other detainees begged the security agents to take into account his old age but they always said: "inform us when he dies," he added:
"After several days of suffering and severe torture at the State Security Branch in Aleppo, we were transferred to the Raid Security Branch where the situation was slightly better comparing to the previous section, but I do recall that I witnessed the death of another detainee identified as Khaled Ateeq, who was suffering from tuberculosis, and died in front of us, after his state worsened and blood bled of his mouth, and when we told the elements of the branch to take care of the man's illness and not to be subjected to beatings and humiliation, they were also responding: "Inform us when he dies, don’t think that you are in your mother’s lap."
Fourth: Another Journey of Suffering in Damascus:
A month and a half after his arrest in Aleppo, Adel was transferred to Damascus along with the other 30 detainees, where they were taken at night by three buses while they were handcuffed and blindfolded. Initially, they were taken to the Air intelligence Branch in Damascus, about 15 days later, they were transferred to the Military Court, Adel continued saying:
"I witnessed, in the Air Intelligence Branch, the death of asthma sick detainee who was identified as Abu Nizar, as the regime forces had denied him from medication, and all I remember is that we tried to save him through an artificial respiration, but unfortunately, he died. However, they constantly told us: "it is forbidden to call us to rescue a sick person; don't call us unless he is dead, you are here to die one after another, you are all terrorists.” Moreover, we would estimate the time only either when they summon us for investigation or when food was distributed, since these dentations were underground and very dark."
Fifth: Breathing Freedom
Adel was absent from his family who never knew whether he was alive or not for three months until he finally succeeded in communicating with them after he was transferred to Adra Central prison in Damascus on March 13, 2017, and after about five months he finally breathed freedom, and in this regard he went on saying:
"On August 19, 2017, I was released through an exchange of detainees between regime forces and opposition factions, after paying a large amount of money to a broker working for the forces of the regime in order to put my name with the rest of the exchanged prisoners' names. Once again I was transferred from Adra prison to the security branches waiting for the exchange that took two months, which the regime had shown it as a process of reconciliation between the regime and armed members of the opposition who got amnesty and settled their situation. We got out of the regime jails, and we were about 135 people, including (30) women, in a swap operation of two corpses and three people from "Shiite Militias" who fight alongside the regime forces. Anyway, this exchange conducted in coordination with the Red Crescent, which oversaw the handover from both sides."