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Syria Daily: “Torture Chamber” — UN Calls for Detainee Releases

Syria Daily: “Torture Chamber” — UN Calls for Detainee Releases
March 15
07:29 2017

“The entire country has become a torture-chamber; a place of savage horror and absolute injustice



Western Policy Towards Syria — Applying Lessons Learned

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for tens of thousands of detainees to be released from regime prisons in Syria.

“Today in a sense the entire country has become a torture-chamber; a place of savage horror and absolute injustice,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told a UN Human Rights Council forum in Geneva. “Ensuring accountability, establishing the truth and providing reparations must happen if the Syrian people are ever to find reconciliation and peace.”

Hussein’s testimony came a day after a UN report setting out regime “war crimes”, including chemical attacks and the deliberate bombing of civilians, medical services and staff, and infrastructure.

See UN — Regime Bombed Damascus’s Water Supply in “War Crime”

Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry, referred to its finding that the scale of deaths in prisons indicated that the regime was responsible for “extermination as a crime against humanity”: “Too many voices have been silenced by enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, or death.”

Witness testimony and photographs, including those brought out of Syria by a military photographer in 2013, have established the abuse and deaths of thousands of detainees.

See Syria Feature: Up to 13,000 Hung in Military Prison from 2011 to 2015 — Amnesty
Syria Feature: Almost 18,000 Die in Prisons Since 2011 — Amnesty

The regime did not attend Tuesday’s forum, while the Russian envoy called the event a “waste of valuable time”.

Former detainees also testified about their experiences and those of others. Noura Al-Ameer al-Jizawi said, “”Many….women are detained with their children, detained in places not even fit for animals, let alone fit for children,” she told the council.

Fadel Abdul Ghani, executive director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, explained that the regime holds 87% — 92,000 of the total of 106,000 — in detention.

Sednaya Prison, where thousands of detainees were killed between 2011 and 2015

State Media: 25+ Killed in Suicide Bombing in Damascus

Syrian State media, citing a police source, says at least 25 people have been killed and more injured in a suicide bombing in Damascus, the second in the capital within days.

The source said the suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest in the old Justice Palace building in the al-Hamidiyeh section of Damascus.

There was a second explosion in a restaurant in the al-Rabweh neighborhood, causing casualties, and a third explosive device was defused near the President’s Bridge.

On Saturday, more than 40 people were killed in a double suicide bombing in southern Damascus. Many of the victims were Iraqis, with varying reports on how many were pilgrims and how many were pro-Assad militiamen.

The jihadist bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham claimed the blasts.

Syria Developing: 40+ Iraqis Killed in Damascus Blasts

Footage from today’s scene at the Justice Palace:

The bombed restaurant:


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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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  1. Tundra
    Tundra March 15, 14:11

    HTS is on a roll. 3 bombings with dozens of casualties each. Very impressive.
    Second explosion also being reported right now.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tundra
      Tundra March 15, 14:20

      Should note that HTS hasn’t claimed the attacks so far, but the attacks are commemorating the 6th anniversary of the rebellion, so they’re the obvious perpetrator.

      Reply to this comment
      • caligola
        caligola March 15, 15:04

        I fear that this Kabul/Baghdad scenario will continue in the future in Damascus. I am not in favour of this modus operandi but i understand it can yield more successes in the long term than a victory on the battlefield. But still……

        Reply to this comment
        • Tundra
          Tundra March 15, 15:37

          Your aversion to such tactics is understandable, and it’s probably shared by almost everyone else on this site. Personally I’m used to this conflict being a merciless free-for-all, so I don’t moralize.

          Reply to this comment
    • Tundra
      Tundra March 15, 19:24

      or not.

      Reply to this comment
      • caligola
        caligola March 15, 20:10

        Isis and co. or HTS. Not many candidates. We could although go into conspiracy mode and blame assad…… :)

        Reply to this comment
        • Woody
          Woody March 15, 22:03

          Or we could jettison the labels and recognize this as the next stage of a deeper conflict. One where Assad really screwed up and can’t get the Russians to bomb his way out of .. .

          Reply to this comment
          • caligola
            caligola March 15, 23:30

            If it really picks up as a trend then this is a much bigger danger for Assad than the standard warfare we have seen from 2011.

            Reply to this comment
            • Leeroyjenkins
              Leeroyjenkins March 16, 01:19

              Agreed id say moxing it up between conventional and guerilla attacks are the way forward
              Esp getting hold of ids, uniforms , passcodes etc

              Reply to this comment

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