Home Human Rights Journalism Daraa: Dozens Arrested and Released After Signing Government Settlement Agreement

Daraa: Dozens Arrested and Released After Signing Government Settlement Agreement


The Syrian government released over 100 detainees from Daraa in February and March 2021. Most of those released were arrested despite the settlement agreement they signed with the government in 2018

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Executive Summary

The Syrian government released two batches of detainees from Daraa province during February and March 2021.

On 8 February 2021, the government released the first batch of detainees, including at least 63 militants and civilians,[1] among them five women and four former relief and humanitarian organization employees.

The government released a second batch of detainees on 16 March 2021. The batch consisted of 43 detainees from Daraa province, including civilians but mostly recruits within the ranks of Syrian government forces.

Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) obtained information confirming that the majority of those released were arrested following the settlement agreement signed with the Syrian government in July 2018. Most of the detainees had conducted a settlement/reconciliation with the government. However, their supposedly legalized status did not help spare them arrest by Syrian security services on various charges, including working for education and relief organizations while the area was controlled by the Syrian opposition. Others were detained due to malicious reports filed against them.

Eyewitnesses and newly released civilians told STJ that some of the detainees spent days or months in the prisons of security services; others spent nearly a year there. They added that the larger number of detainees were neither tried nor convicted before they were released

A field researcher with STJ reported that the families of a number of the recently released civilians were forced to pay exorbitant sums of money or bribes to lawyers or officers within Syrian government forces in order to free their loved ones from detention. Some families paid almost 8 million Syrian pounds (SYP)[2].

In two cases, the field researcher verified information indicating that two civilians were released on 16 March 2021 even though the court ordered their release on 1 March 2021 and that the criminal charges against them were false. Both civilians were kept in prison until the second batch of detainees was released on 16 March. Furthermore, the field researcher obtained the testimonies of two released soldiers who were detained for going on a leave without obtaining approval from officers in charge  or for engaging in disputes with their superior officers.

Additionally, eyewitnesses and activists told STJ that Daraa central committees, consisting of dignitaries from the province, said that Russia was attempting to stabilize the situation in Daraa ahead of the upcoming Syrian presidential elections, to be held in May 2021.[3] The activists reported that the government released over 200 persons from the province in several batches from 19 May 2019 to late 2020, adding that the majority of those released were also detained despite the settlement agreements they signed with the government.

The reported releases correspond to almost daily arrests carried out by Syrian government forces. Over February 2021, Horan Free League documented at least 22 arrests, including two women. Three of the detainees were released the same month.[4]

The releases also overlapped with the new settlement agreement signed on 8 February 2021 in Tafas city, in the western countryside of Daraa province, where there remain former opposition fighters. The settlement was signed to put an end to security tension within the city following the military operation government forces launched against the city in late January 2021.[5]

Methodology

For the purposes of this report, STJ conducted a total of 15 interviews, including with nine civilians and two soldiers released in February and March 2021.

Moreover, a field researcher with STJ reached out to two Daraa-based activists, an informed local source, and the relatives of a detainee who has been detained by Syrian security services for several years.

 STJ interviewed eyewitness and sources either online or in person between mid-February and late March 2021 and used aliases for all the interviewees for security reasons.

Background

Syrian government forces ended military operations in the area to their advantage in August 2018 and now control the entirety of Southern Syria. The region’s population signed a settlement with the Syrian government under Russia’s auspices.[6] The settlement contained several terms, including the release of detainees and the legalization of the status of persons wanted by security services, as well as paving the way for the return of displaced and refugee residents. The settlement also provided for the gradual reoperation of government civil service corporations, schools, and hospitals. The Russian command, for its part, deployed dozens of military police personnel to observation posts to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

Two years after the agreement was signed, Daraa residents felt betrayed because the government did not meet any of their stipulated demands. The government security services did not release the people they detained earlier in the conflict, many of whom remain unaccounted for. Furthermore, government corporations and directorates are only formally operating and almost unable to provide the province with services, particularly in the western and eastern parts of the province, as well as in Daraa al-Balad, where power and water networks—restored by locals at their own expense—are barely functional. Education and healthcare facilities are similarly inoperative. Additionally, the government did not keep its promise relating to the legalization of wanted people’s status and passed several dismissal decisions against teachers and employees in the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra and sentenced many of them to prison on various charges.[7]

The recurrently violated agreement turned rampant insecurity routine throughout Daraa. Assassinations spiked[8] and locals held numerous protests demanding the release of detainees. In retaliation, the government attempted to subjugate the province through excessive force, summoning military reinforcements to several cities where tensions peaked, such as al-Sanamayn and the western countryside,[9] where former opposition fighters continue to live and carry light weaponry.

With military reinforcements, the Syrian government aimed to set the stage for the 2021 presidential elections, imposing military pressure on the areas it controlled to repress any potential display of protest among the locals. Repression; however, made people furious throughout the region. As a result, attacks were carried out against government-affiliated military and security posts, soldiers kidnapped, repeated exchanges of fire broke out, and several demonstrations were organized in solidarity with the areas that government forces threatened to storm.

Simultaneously, Russia sought to stabilize the situation in Daraa. The Russian command dedicated several decisions to this end and mediated the release of over 200 persons, arrested after the majority had signed settlement agreements with the Syrian government. The detainees were released in batches between 19 May and late 2020. Commenting on Russia’s role in regaining calm in Daraa province, media activist Aref B. told STJ:

“Daraa dignitaries’ central committees declared that Russia was preparing the ground in the province before the upcoming presidential elections. To achieve this, Russian forces pressed the regime into avoiding provocative operations and immediate and armed confrontations with the locals in Daraa. The forces also promised to release the detainees. Therefore, the Syrian authorities released dozens of detainees, with the last batch let out from prisons on 8 February and 16 March 2021.”

  1. Dozens of Detainees Released since Early 2021

On 18 February 2021, Russia circulated a statement through mosques’ speakers in the villages and towns in the western and eastern parts of Daraa al-Balad. The Russian command called on relatives and families to register the names of their detained family members with dignitaries, directors of municipalities, or secretaries of the al-Ba’ath Party offices in their respective towns. Name lists would then be handed over to the Daraa Central Committee (DCC).

Afterwards, the Syrian government released a batch of at least 63 Daraa. The release operation occurred at the Daraa Provincial Hall in the presence of several Syrian government officials, notably the governor of Daraa province, the head of the Daraa Security Committee, the head of the Political Security Branch, and the secretary of the al-Ba’ath Party Daraa Office.

In an exclusive testimony, a Daraa-based source provided STJ with exhaustive information about the first batch of released detainees. The source said that the batch included at least 63 detainees, among them five women and four relief workers and humanitarian organizations’ employees, who all subsequently signed a settlement agreement with the Syrian government. The source added that the batch also included two other groups of detainees. The first consisted of civilians who were arrested due to malicious security reports. The second involved 27 militants, including soldiers, officers, and employees of military departments. Pertaining to the second group, the source noted that most of the soldiers were people who had reconciled with the Syrian government through a settlement agreement and joined their forces, or militants who violated the military code at the barracks where they were on duty, such as forging leave, taking bribes, or joining their military divisions late. The source also stressed that the majority of those released were arrested even though they had their status legalized with the Syrian government and spent three months to almost a year in detention.

On 16 March 2021, the Syrian government released a second batch of Daraa detainees. This batch included at least 43 persons.[10] A Daraa-based activist reported to STJ that the batch mostly consisted of soldiers within the Syrian government army, and a smaller number of civilians. The activist stressed that this batch was released to stabilize the tension that gripped the province because the majority of those released had their status legalized a long time ago after 2018, while others were arrested only a few days before their release. Furthermore, the activist said that the families of detainees in the western countryside of Daraa threatened to escalate the situation by holding protests, demanding the release of their relatives who had been kept in captivity with no information provided to their families about their wellbeing.

The activist added that the DCC assured the people that other batches of detainees will follow soon.

     2. The Testimonies of Nine Civilians Released in February and March 2021

A field researcher with STJ interviewed nine of the civilians released within the two batches on 8 February and 16 March 2021. These civilians were all arrested over 2020 despite the settlement agreement they had signed with the Syrian government. They were charged with various crimes and spent either days or a few months in detention. Moreover, a number of these civilians told the researcher that their families were forced to pay officers or lawyers money in exchange for their release.

Ahmad M., 25, is from Daraa province, married, and a father of a little boy. He was one of the first batch of detainees released on 8 February 2021. M. was arrested at a Syrian government checkpoint near Aleppo city in mid-2020 even though he had his status legalized with the government. He narrated:

“Stricken by the country’s poor economy and in pursuit of a better life, I decided to head to Northern Syria, then to Turkey, and finally to Europe. My father proposed that we call a smuggler to ensure a safe trip. But I refused because I was capable of reaching Aleppo unaided. I planned to contact a smuggler in Aleppo to show me the way. This would have saved us a lot of money. However, things turned disastrous when a military checkpoint of the State Security Branch ordered me off the vehicle near Aleppo because the personnel did not like my answer that I was visiting a friend in Aleppo. After the interrogation, they discovered a chat with my father that exposed my destination. They held me in detention for three months. My father paid them two million and a half SYP in exchange for my release. When they received the money, they transferred me to Damascus. I was deposited at the Sednaya Military Prison, where I spent three additional months. There, I was severely beaten. My father again reached out to an officer and paid him six million SYP to release me. The officer told my father that I was held on the charge of dealing with an armed terrorist group in Daraa. Hearing that, my father sold a piece of land he had and rushed the money to the middleman who connected him with the officer before I was tried over charges, I had nothing to do with. When they released me in February 2021, I told my father that the only charge they could convict me for is that I told them that I was searching for a better life outside this country.”

Samer K. is one of the batch of detainees released on 8 February 2021. He spent four months in the prisons of the government security services on the charge of previously working for a Daraa-based organization concerned with education before he signed a settlement agreement with the government. He recounted:

“I worked for one of the organizations concerned with education in Daraa when the armed opposition still controlled the province. I had to assess the work of a number of kindergartens that the organization supervised in several areas in Daraa. When the Syrian government retook the province, I signed the settlement agreement and adhered to its terms. In late 2020, I went to obtain some personal documents from a state directorate. [The employees] said that I had to show up at the Palestine Branch in Damascus. I consulted with people informed of such matters, who assured me that this was a routine measure and that I will be only asked a few questions about a malicious report filed against me. They added that because I possessed a settlement card, the branch will release me immediately once they are done with the questioning. I headed to the branch. There, I was asked about my work with the organization. I detailed the nature of my job to the detective and told him that I had a settlement card. The detective asked me to return three days later.”

The witness added:

“I returned to the branch three days later. I had to wait for eight hours before they summoned me for investigation. I asked one of the guards to help me speed up the process; I bribed him into it for sure! The guard spoke to the detective and then told to return the next day. The next morning, I showed up at the branch for the third time. They called my name at 04:00 P.M. When I entered the investigation room, the detective’s face looked serious . He went through the same questions regarding my former job. At the end of the interrogation, he ordered the guards to take me down to the prison. The branch held me in detention for three months, and I was released in February 2021. Later, I learned that my family paid a lawyer three million SYP in exchange for my release. We called the lawyer to tell him that I was out, and he said that if it were not for him, my name would not have found its way to the release file.”

Rami M., 36, is from Daraa province and was one of the batch of detainees released on 16 March 2021. M. was arrested at a Syrian government checkpoint near the al-Sheikh Maskin town in rural Daraa in January 2021 and spent two months detained. He narrated:

“The personnel at a checkpoint near al-Sheikh Maskin town stopped me and ordered me to unload my car’s contents. The car was filled with haystacks. When I protested, telling them that it was difficult for me, they threatened to take me to prison despite the settlement agreement I had signed earlier. The situation was tense in the town back then. In the end, they transferred me to the al-Khatib Branch in Damascus. I was held there for two months without interrogation. Ultimately, they summoned me and registered my personal information. One of the soldiers there told me that they will be releasing me in a few days, then I was released with a large number of other Daraa detainees.”

Farouk M., 33, is from Daraa and one of the batch of detainees released on 16 March 2021. M. was arrested on the Mankat al-Hatab checkpoint on the Damascus-Daraa international highway in late 2020. He said:

“I used to work for a stone quarry in Ad Dumayr city, north of Damascus. I was on the way to visit my children and family in Daraa when personnel on the Mankat al-Hatab village checkpoint arrested me. I asked the bus driver to tell my family immediately to speak to the Daraa Central Committee and ask them to interfere to release me. The personnel transported me to the Palestine Branch. I was cross examined at the branch regarding my former work with the Syria Civil Defense (White Helmets). I told the detective that I had signed a settlement agreement. Despite this, they imprisoned me for almost two months. Then, they moved me to Sednaya Military Prison. I was subjected to a similar investigation and provided the same answers. I spent a month in Sednaya Military Prison. At one point, they told me that they will release me and in fact did with the last batch [of detainees]”

 Samer M., 29, is from Daraa and one of the batch of detainees released on 16 March 2021. He was arrested by government security services in Damascus countryside in early 2020 despite the settlement agreement he had signed earlier. He narrated.

“In late 2019, I got a job at an electrical appliances store near Jdaydet Artooz town in Damascus. The owner also allowed me to live in a room above the store. I worked there for seven months and visited my family in Daraa every week, sometimes every other week. I was arrested by accident. The store owner was fighting with some neighbors and the police was called. The policemen did not give us a chance to speak. The Military Security Detachment interfered to resolve the problem; personnel took our phones and identity documents. I stayed at the police station for three days before I was transferred to the al-Khatib Branch, from among all the other people that accompanied me. At the branch, I was interrogated, but not about the dispute. They questioned me about some old photos they found in my phone. The photos were of [anti-government] demonstrations held in my neighborhood in Daraa. I told them that these were old photos, but this did not prevent them from torturing me. They beat me severely for a week. I told them that I had signed a settlement agreement and that they could tell the date of these photos. A month later, they transported me to Palestine Branch. They hit me there, too. I spent about 11 months at Palestine Branch before I was released with this last batch of detainees.”

Ahmad f., 27, is from Daraa province and spent nine months in the prisons of the Syrian government security services. F. was arrested at al-Jaidor town, northwest Daraa, in mid-2020 on the charge of threatening one of the town’s informers. He recounted:

“I was driving on a secondary road in the area of al-Jaidor, going to visit some friends. A number of [Syrian] regime-affiliated soldiers arrested me, whom I later identified as operating under Airforce Intelligence. They arrested me even though I had a settlement card. They transferred me to the al-Khatib Branch in Damascus and interrogated me on the charge of threatening an informer in the town. I did not deny that I once attacked an informer who filed malicious reports against me to the Airforce Intelligence detachment in the town. After the interrogation, they kept me in prison without trial until I was finally released in March 2021.”

Abdullah M. is from Daraa province and one of the batch of detainees released on 8 February 2021. M. was arrested during a raid into Dael town in July 2020. He was detained despite the settlement agreement he had signed earlier. He narrated:

“I was in my neighborhood when [government forces] set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the city. They stopped me and asked me to show them my identity document. They ordered me to accompany them without making a fuss and transported me to Daraa city. There, I was interrogated about wanted people from the city and I told them that I had no idea about these persons. Next, they questioned me about my job before the settlement agreement. I replied that I was just a civilian. They did not believe that I had no knowledge of the list with names of wanted people and were convinced that I was covering for them. Due to this, I was severely beaten and insulted. I was sent to solitary confinement for a week, after which they interrogated me once more. This time they beat me with a metal cable. They held me in prison for eight months without trial until I was released in February 2021.”

Rahim M. is one of the batch of detainees released on 16 March 2021. He was arrested in September 2020 by a checkpoint of the Airforce Intelligence for insulting one of the checkpoint soldiers, even though he had signed a settlement agreement. He recounted:

“I was heading to al-Jiza town when an Airforce Intelligence checkpoint stopped me; it was a temporary checkpoint. I knew immediately that they wanted to arrest me because they were searching for me on the charge of assaulting an Airforce Intelligence soldier. The soldier used to impose royalties on the people crossing the checkpoint; he blackmailed the people, particularly when relief food baskets were distributed in the town. He would deny civilians passage unless they gave him an oil bottle or a pasta packet. When he asked me to give him a bottle of oil, I spilled the bottle over his head, helped by other young men from the town who refused his practices. I was arrested and immediately transferred to Dael city and then to the Palestine Branch in Damascus. They brutally beat me when I was in their vehicle. They hit me for an hour, until I lost consciousness. In Palestine Branch, they interrogated me. They used the dulab (tyer) method to torture me.[11] They held me in solitary confinement for a month. I spent about six months in prison without trial until I was released under the pardon, passed in March 2021.”

Furthermore, a field researcher with STJ documented the release of two civilian Daraa detainees as part of the batch released on 16 March 2021. These two detainees were held captive even though the court ordered their release on 1 March 2021 for finding that the charges laid against them were false. The field researcher interviewed a source informed of these two cases, who said:

“On 16 December 2020, a patrol of the Criminal Security arrested H. H. while investigating the murder of his father . The dead body of the father was discovered left in his own house in October 2020 under suspicious circumstances. Family members were suspected of committing the murder due to a family dispute that erupted a few days before the father’s death. Later, the probe into the murder was expanded and the dead man’s brother was also arrested. The detectives did not obtain sufficient proof that criminalized the two suspects, and the family did not file a lawsuit against them. The suspects were transferred to the civil prison in early February 2021 because one of them possessed a combat gun. The court processed this case and issued a release order for the two men on 1 March 2021.”

The source added:

“We were surprised to see these two persons’ names among the people released in March 2021. Practically, there was no justification to keep them in detention but to increase the number of people released by the government before the media outlet’s cameras.”

      3. The Testimonies of Recently Released Soldiers

STJ’s field researchers also interviewed two soldiers released February 2021, who fought among the ranks of the Syrian government army. One of the interviewed soldiers, 27, said that he was arrested for quarreling with the officer in command of his division and then detained at the Sednaya Military Prison for seven months on the charge of “denigration of the military institution”. The released soldier narrated:

“I joined military service in 2019 after I signed a settlement agreement. I am a married man, my father is old, and my siblings cannot make a living because they are all suffering from unemployment. Moreover, my soldier’s salary is no more than 27,000 SYP. The salary barely covers the cost of my cigarettes, so I had to borrow money from friends to meet my children’s needs. I asked the officer in command of my division to allow me to get a job, but he asked for 200,000 SYP in return for the permission.  I searched for a job and found one that paid  150,000 SYP a month. I told the officer and pleaded with him to accept 100,000 to cover my absence. He firmly rejected the offer. The next morning, I was extremely down. They brought us our food allocations, potatoes, and tomatoes, one of each. We asked for bread, but the officer answered us that there were no bread allocations for the day. I could no longer take it. I threw the food on the ground, cursed the officer, the army, and life. I then fell into a fit of sobs.”

He added:

“I was transferred to the Sednaya Military Prison. I was detained there for six months without trial. On 1 February 2021, I got a referral to the court. There, I was told that my charge was ‘contempt for grace and denigration of the military institution,’ regularly penalized with six months in prison, without counting the six months I already spent in detention as part of my military service term. The situation continued thus until I was let out with the batch released on 8 February 2021.”

Muhammad M., from Daraa province, spent six months in detention for missing military service for a week. He was one of the batch of detainees released on 8 February 2021. M. told STJ that he was held at the prison of his military division after he returned home without an official leave order. The officer in charge refused to grant him a leave, despite knowing that M. needed to return home because his family was going through extremely difficult circumstances.

     4. What About Those Detained Earlier During the Syrian Conflict?

Despite these releases, numerous families in Daraa province remain concerned about the fate of their relatives who were detained in the early years of the Syrian conflict, particularly those who have disappeared, leaving their families unable to verify whether they are dead or alive.

The fear stems from the unfortunate news broken to many detainees’ families in Daraa, who throughout 2019 received official statements declaring the death of their loved ones in the prisons of Syrian security services. In these cases, the settlement agreement, mediated by Russia, failed to protect many from arrest, detention, and death. Families who received death statements were denied information about the circumstances of the deaths of their loved ones, their place of burial, and/or access to their bodies.[12] However, this issue may be changing. A source told STJ that, contrary to prior practice, Syrian forces have recently  delivered several families in Daraa the bodies of their relatives who died in detention, especially military service evaders or defectors who signed  settlement agreements with the Syrian government.

Zaina M., from Izraa city in Daraa province, narrated the bitter story of waiting to hear about the fate of her detained brother. Zaina’s brother was arrested at a military checkpoint in rural Damascus in 2013. She recounted:

“ My brother was arrested on the way to the Facility of Economics at The University of Damascus in May 2013. He then went missing. We continued to reach out to officers in the Syrian army and security services and paid them money every now and then. All we got in return were conflicting news regarding his life and whereabouts. When the Syrian regime controlled Daraa, we repeatedly registered my brother’s name on the lists of detainees forwarded to the Russians and the Syrian government. The last list was compiled in February 2021. We were made a lot of promises but received no answers . My mother was so traumatized by what happened to my brother that she developed diabetes and heart issues. She still holds on to hope that he will return, which might turn into nothing. She hopes, especially after we witnessed the release of many detainees who were arrested after 2018, that his turn may come next. But no one is talking about the detainees arrested earlier, as if their page has been turned altogether.”

According to figures documented by the Horan Free League, the Syrian government arrested at least 1144 persons from Daraa province since the settlement agreement was signed in July 2018 and up to early July 2020. The League reported that among the detainees were 453 civilians and 691 former armed opposition fighters. Pertaining to the detainees’ gender, the league verified the arrest of 38 women, 24 male and female children, as well as 1082 men, the majority of whom had signed settlement agreements . Of the total 1144 detainees, the league added that the Syrian government released only 307 over two years of the settlement agreement. The League also documented dozens of arrests between July 2020 and February 2021, pointing that the actual number of Daraa detainees is over 1500, amidst difficulties to document some cases given the tightened security measures the government security services have imposed on the province, making people hesitant to provide information about their detained relatives for fear of retaliation.[13]

As for the pre-settlement agreement years, there are no precise statistics on the number of Daraa detainees. The Daraa Martyrs Documentation Office estimates that the number may be over 4300 detainees.[14]

 

 

________

[1] At least 27 soldiers, officers, and employees at military departments were released.

[2] At the time of publishing in June 2021, this is the equivalent of $17,000.

[3] “Syrian Presidential Elections will be Held on Time, Regardless of the Constitutional Committee’s Work,”  Russia Today, 21 December 2021 https://arabic.rt.com/middle_east/1185234-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A6%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D8%A8%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7-%D9%88%D9%84%D9%86-%D9%8A%D9%83%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%87%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%83-%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%B7-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7-%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9/ (last visited: 21 May 2021).

[4] “Comprehensive statistical report on violations in Daraa province during February 2021,” Horan Free League, 29 February 2021, https://www.horanfree.com/?p=8194 (last visited: 21 May 2021).

[5] “Southern Syria: Tafas City’s Residents Concerned Despite the New Settlement Agreement,” STJ, 27 April 2021, https://stj-sy.org/en/southern-syria-tafas-citys-residents-concerned-despite-the-new-settlement-agreement/ (last visited: 21 May 2021).

[6] Under the auspice of the Russian police, the settlement agreement was put into effect in three stages—the first covered the northern rural parts and al-Lajat area in Daraa, the second extended over the remaining areas of the province, except for the Yarmouk Basin, which the Syrian regular forces took over in early August 2018. The third stage, however, was applied to the province of Quneitra. The agreement’s key terms provided for the following: Surrendering border crossings and the armed opposition groups’ light and medium weapons to Syrian government forces, as well as returning employees to their former jobs. Additionally, the agreement demanded putting an end to arrests, prosecution, and the release of detainees.

[7] “Mass Unfair Dismissals of Teachers in Daraa,” STJ, 17 December 2018, https://stj-sy.org/en/1092/ (Last visited: 21 May 2021).

[8] “Southern Syria: A New Wave of Violence Strikes Daraa,” STJ 17 February 2021, https://stj-sy.org/en/southern-syria-a-new-wave-of-violence-strikes-daraa/ (Last visited: 21 May 2021).

[9] “Daraa: Concern over Repeating ‘al-Sanamayn Scenario’ in Other Areas despite the ‘Settlement Agreement’,” STJ, 17 April 2020, https://stj-sy.org/en/concern-over-repeating-al-sanamayn-scenario-in-other-areas-despite-settlement-agreement-daraa/ (Last visited: 21 May 2021).

[10] A field researcher with STJ recorded the release of three other non-Daraa residents. These three are originally from As-Suwayda or Damascus countryside.

[11] “The ‘tire’ (dulab), where people are forced into a vehicle tire, with their foreheads pressed onto their knees or ankles, and beaten.” For more refer to Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2016/08/syria-torture-prisons/ .

[12] “’My Mother still Hopes He’s Alive’: Dozens of Syrian Families Told their Detained Loved Ones are Dead,” STJ, 1 February 2021, https://stj-sy.org/en/my-mother-still-hopes-hes-alive-dozens-of-syrian-families-told-their-detained-loved-ones-are-dead/ (Last visited: 22 May 2021).

[13] “Two years into the ‘settlement’: dying while alive in Daraa,” Horan Free League, 1 July 2020, https://www.horanfree.com/?p=6296 (Last visited: 22 May 2021).

[14] “Detainees are a negotiation card in Daraa: persons detained earlier are forgotten,” Enab Baladi, 14 February 2021, https://www.enabbaladi.net/archives/458287 (Last visited: 22 May 2021).

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