On January 9, 2013, a prisoner’s swap deal, the largest of its kind, took place in Syria. Under an Iranian-Turkish auspice, 48 Iranian prisoners, detained by the opposition factions, were released in exchange for 2130 people detained by the Syrian regime, some of whom have not been in detention centers for a long time and included four Turkish citizens.
Back then, Assad’s forces’ reinforcements used to reach the city of Darayya but never to come back. The area almost turned into a “black hole,” swallowing fighters and their vehicles. The revenge, however, was not taken on the ground; it rather took place in Sednaya Military Prison, about 28 kilometers away. On January 15, a field execution sentence was issued against a number of peaceful activists and leaders of the revolutionary movement in the city of Darayya, rural Damascus, who were detained in Sednaya prison.
The death sentence was not limited to these activists and leaders alone, for the Syrian regime has in July reported the names of a thousand detainees, killed in prisons, to the Personal Status Department in the city of Darayya, according to sources from the department. Despite the fact that only 80 names have been verified as dead so far, the detainees’ relatives are asked to visit the department to issue a “death certificate.”
The death notes delivered by the regime have turned Darayya’s people’s accounts on social media into a communal mourning house.
According to the data of “Darayya’s Detainees” Group, run by a number of activists and specialists, about three thousand detainees form the city are yet enduring an unknown fate.
The 300’s Case, What Is It?
In September 2012, in a regime-affiliated field court, 300 activists appeared; they belonged to different revolting cities and were mostly running coordination offices and demonstrations, according to identical information confirmed by Diyab Sariyeh, the general coordinator of Sednaya Prison Detainees and Disappeared Association.
Sariyeh told Enab Baladi that the majority of these detainees were captured by the Air Force Intelligence and Military Security, stressing that none of them had any thing to do with armed action. Actually, they were detained long before the revolution turned into military mobilization early in 2012.
They were sentenced to 4500 years imprisonment, 15 years each, including 30 activists from the city of Darayya, who were transported to Sednaya Prison.
The Syrian regime, nonetheless, has perhaps revoked this penalty, and the field court ordered the assassination of a number of the detainees on January 15, 2013, a date that made the common factor between the death notes the Personal Status Department has been issuing lately.
Sariyeh does not assert this date as the real date on which the assassinations were implemented, pointing out that the lists’, death notes, dates might be arbitrary, citing many cases were detainees where seen after their death notes were issued.
Still, he said that those whose death notes have been issued without referring to the direct causes of death are likely to have been subjected to field executions, a recurrent state in the latest lists, for those who die due to torture, diseases or other health-related issues in the prisons, are transported to a military hospital, such as Tishreen, which certifies the death by a heart attack, liver failure and others.
Sariyeh stressed that handing over the detainees’ lists has increased throughout Syria with the beginning of June, especially in the rural parts of Damascus, Hama, Homs, al-Hasakah and Aleppo, after a slow tempo, for the Association has documented only 400 cases since the beginning of 2018 to early June, advising the detainees’ relatives of getting a “no conviction certificate,” which sometimes helps in arriving at certain indicators of the detainee’s status.
With the absence of official records, the “Syrian Network for Human Rights” has documented the names of more than 118 thousand Syrian detainees, 88% of whom are held in the prisons of the Syrian regime. However, estimates indicate that the number has exceeded the 215 thousand detainees’ mark.
The Network has also verified the death of more than 13 thousand people due to torture in Syria, 99% of whom were killed by the regime.
In Darayya, the number of the people’s names who have been documented as killed by the regime is 2712 persons, 174 of whom died due to torture to the 28th of July 2018, according to the Documentation Team in Darayya.
Darayya’s listed martyrs’ have neither bodies that families could bury nor known cemeteries to embrace their remains. Darayya, itself, has been emptied of its people and fighters in July 2016 after four years of siege and a shelling that refused to calm down.