Syria Daily: Names Published of 8,000 Killed in Assad Prisons Since 2011

A visitor considers photographs of some of the victims from Assad regime prisons, at an exhibition in UN headquarters in New York (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The names have been published of almost 8,000 detainees killed in the Assad regime’s prisons since Syria’s uprising began in March 2011.

The opposition site Zaman al-Wasl compiled the list, which includes 125 children and 63 women, from the Violations Documentation Center, social media accounts, and recent disclosures by the Assad regime to families of the dead. The victims were either executed or died from abuse and inhumane conditions.

There were more than 2,000 killed in both 2013 and 2014. While the number of confirmed deaths has declined since then, the VDC still records 170 victims this year.

The largest share of the slain were from Damascus and southern Syria, where notorious prisons such as Sednaya are located, but more than 1,200 were from Homs and there were hundreds from areas such as Aleppo, Hama, and Deir ez-Zor.

While providing detail, the list is likely to be only a fraction of the total killed in the past seven years. Amnesty International has reported that at least 5,000 and up to 13,000 detainees were executed in Sednaya alone between 2011 and the end of 2015. The defecting military photographer Caesar brought out pictures of thousands of victims in 2014.

In August 2016, a cross-check of records from the VDC, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, and other activist organizations established 12,270 killings with a “low” estimate of almost 18,000.

More information is now coming out as the Assad regime, trying to consolidate control in much of Syria, is notifying families of the deaths of detainees — sometimes several years after the killings.

See How the Assad Regime Killed the “Man With the Roses”: The Death of Activist Yahya al-Sharbaji
Assad Regime to 100s of Syria’s Parents: Your Children Died in Detention

Some activists are chiding Zaman al-Wasl for creating confusion, with the site’s list referring to killings from the early days of the Syrian uprising and not necessarily the recent confirmations of slain detainees. Others say that some of the victims were killed by security forces and not in prison, and that some still alive.

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.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Assad is using this disclosure of mass murder for phycological oppression of the people. It is a demonstration of the evil morality of this despot.

    • Interesting theory Barley. Please explain to the audience how Assad supposed to be using oppostion groups to release this disclosure? Did you even bother to read who the source was?

        • You didn’t read that article either did you Barley? The article about “disclosures” reads “It appears that there is no set procedure for informing families, with some learning of changes in ad hoc and inconsistent ways that varied from city to city, municipality to municipality.

          Hundreds discovered the deaths by accident during routine visits to the civil registry to file paperwork on behalf of the missing. Other families have received phone calls from local reconciliation committees, stating that a family member had died and instructing them to change their civil registry status at local”

          That hardly sounds like evidence of a government program to psychologically terrorize the population.

          • Don’t you read what is really going on? How can you be so oblivious to the truth? The despot Assad has recently allowed a large amount of data to be released about the Syrian people he has ordered to be murdered or have died from deliberate neglect in his prisons. Anybody who has been following the news and has a brain larger than a pea will have observed that!

            • Don’t you read what is really going on? How can you be so oblivious to the truth?

              You’re not talking about truth, you’re proposing a theory that has no basis in evidence. I just pointed out the gaping holes in your theory.

              The despot Assad has recently allowed a large amount of data to be released about the Syrian people he has ordered to be murdered or have died from deliberate neglect in his prisons

              Where does it say anything about Assad allowing allowed a large amount of data to be released about the Syrian people he has ordered to be murdered or have died from deliberate neglect in his prisons? Did you not read the story Scott posted that states the families of the alleged victims only learned about the plight of their family members by accident?

              If you read it, it sure as hell wasn’t on EA WorldView.

              So please, feel free to provide a link.

              • The salient point is that regime authorities across Syria are now reporting the deaths of those who have been killed or died in detention — often after several years of silence.

                This could not happen without some support from Damascus to allow the release of the information.

              • Andre seems to even deny that the government has tortured and killed detainees in detention centers.

              • Andre seems to even deny that the government has tortured and killed detainees in detention centers.

                Nice straw man argument to divert attention from your failed conspiracy theory

  2. “Tazi Retweeted
    Insaan Rights Watch
    ‏ @insaan_rights
    Jul 28

    – Assad security branches sent a list of 1000 detainees who died under torture to the civil registry in Daraya city, another list of 735 sent to Ghweiran in Hasaka, a list of 480 sent to Tal kalakh in Homs, a list of 24 sent to Khan Sheikhoun in Idleb.”

    • Give it up Barley.

      The civil registry is just a branch of government, so sending a little from the security branch to the civil registry does not come close to any program of psychologically terrorising the public. As Scott’s other article points out

      “It appears that there is no set procedure for informing families, with some learning of changes in ad hoc and inconsistent ways that varied from city to city, municipality to municipality.

      Hundreds discovered the deaths by accident during routine visits to the civil registry to file paperwork on behalf of the missing.

      Move on

  3. No, I will not give it up Andre! Why did the despot Assad release all of this information after he thinks he has won and when he needs to control a very large number of Syrians who have been recently over powered?

    • Why did the despot Assad release all of this information after he thinks he has won and when he needs to control a very large number of Syrians who have been recently over powered?

      Give it up Barley, you are pushing a lost cause. Sharing data between government agencies is not releasing information. There was no process of releasing anything to the public. For the umpteenth time, the article from Scott explicitly states that there was no procedure for information families, and that such information was passed on in an ad how manner.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here