Missing Persons Committee in NE Syria face challenges in first stage

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Spokesman of Committee for Missing Persons in North and East Syria, Khaled Omar, said on Thursday that they are facing challenges in the first phase of the work. This comes a few months after the formation of the committee.

A day before, the Foreign Relations Department of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) announced that the committee will start its work on Feb. 10.

On August 29, 2023, the AANES announced the formation of the committee in response to a call from the United Nations General Assembly, which adopted a resolution on the matter last June.

Omar said that they will keep in touch with the UN to start work in Syria. The committee is the concerned authority in the AANES-held areas and it coordinates with governmental, nongovernmental, local, regional or  international institutions.

He added that the coordination with the International Commission on Missing Persons will focus on the missing people in “prisons of the Syrian regime.”

Regarding those who were arrested by the Islamic State (ISIS), Omar told North Press that they will collaborate with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that hold ISIS militants to obtain information about those who were previously arrested by ISIS.

Regarding the mass graves found following the expulsion of ISIS, the spokesman said that they will collaborate with forensic clinics to be able to identify the corpses.

Omar emphasized that the committee is in the process of creating a database as an initial phase, stressing that the missing persons file is complicated and may take long time.

According to various estimates by the UN, the number of missing persons in Syria since 2011 is estimated to be around 100,000 people, but there are missing persons before this date, and it is believed that the actual numbers are higher than that.

By Agid Meshmesh