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.
This too doesn't tell whole story since many Syrians caught in the regime arrest-murder complex don't even make it to prison. "Field Military Courts" (see ILAC study) formalize ad-hoc executions by military officers. VDC recorded thousands such incidents. https://t.co/w0qcs6NNfp
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) July 29, 2018
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.
More than 4,000 families have received death certificates from the Assad regime saying their loved ones have died in detention. Among the grieving are the Nakchbandi family who learned that their son Salah died in jail on February 11, 2015. He was just 26 years old. pic.twitter.com/ksV9NPeMwb
— The Syria Campaign (@TheSyriaCmpgn) July 29, 2018
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.
#Darayya's Local Coordination Committee issues statement calling on people not to consider @zamanalwsl 'detainee death lists' as reliable. Says names were lifted off their pages, wrong dates applied, and many names were already published as victims of the Caesar Files. pic.twitter.com/euY8iZoDjn
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) July 29, 2018
Here is also Kassim Haj Kassim from Saraqib, Idlib. According to his family he is in Germany now, but dead in 2012 in Zaman Alwsl's lists. pic.twitter.com/cr35y6vfe4
— Mazen Hassoun (@HassounMazen) July 30, 2018