Detainees, missing people’s case not solved despite settlement in Syria’s Daraa

DARAA, Syria (North Press) – Samya Adnan, a pseudonym for a woman from the town of al-Hirak in the eastern countryside of Daraa, south Syria, is trying to contact anyone who can help her reveal the fate of her son who has been detained by Syrian government forces for two months, but all in vain.

Early in September, government forces arrested her son in the eastern countryside of Daraa, and he was transferred to the Political Security Apparatus in the center of Daraa city.

When she went to the government’s security department more than once, the officers denied, according to what the mother told North Press, that they had her son’s name, but after paying a bribe to an officer there, he told her that the young man was transferred to the capital, Damascus.

The mother indicated that her son has his status settled a since 2018, and has not joined any military entity. He worked as a daily laborer and has three children whom she and his wife take care of.

The woman has another son who is a soldier accomplishing the compulsory military service within the ranks of the government forces.

She added, she has no breadwinner except her detained son, and every time she asks about him, they ask for sums of money that “I cannot afford.”

With the end of the settlements in Daraa governorate and the passage of more than a month and a half from the implementation of the agreement between the notables of the governorate and government forces sponsored by Russia, the implementation of the release of detainees clause and clarifying the fate of the missing, which was scheduled to start five days after the implementation of the agreement, has not yet begun.

Nothing new

Following 80-day-seige, a number of Daraa’s notables and government forces, in the presence of a number of Russian officers, reached a ceasefire agreement on September 5, including handing over weapons and deploying government security points in the towns of Daraa governorate.

This agreement came after the failure of the agreement held between the Central Committee in Daraa al-Balad region and the government forces, since Daraa al-Balad, Tariq al-Sad neighborhood and the Camps were subjected to heavy bombardment by the Iranian-backed factions, which were completely besieging the area.

During the siege, Daraa al-Balad and the besieged neighborhoods were subjected to violent bombardment, which led to the death of twenty civilians, in addition to extensive destruction of infrastructure.

On September 6, the implementation of the agreement began in Daraa al-Balad, where the security services of the government forces, accompanied by the Russian MP and the Central Committee in Daraa al-Balad, entered the city’s neighborhoods and established a center to settle the status of wanted persons there.

On October 25, Syrian security forces ended the settlement process for hundreds of wanted people in Daraa city and its countryside except Busra al-Sham, Ma’arba town and few surrounding villages.

A source of the Central Committee in Daraa al-Balad preferred not to be named, said that “there is nothing new regarding the detainees’ issue.”

The source added that the security committee of the government forces, despite its pledge to the Russian MP to clarify the fate of the detainees and release them, “it is still procrastinating this file.”

The number of detainees who joined the opposition has reached 1,059 since the summer of 2018, and most of them hold settlement cards, according to a previous statement by a member of the Martyrs’ Documentation Office in Daraa, Muhammad al-Shara’.

On June 27, a general amnesty was issued against 100 detainees from Daraa, and the total number of those released since the summer of 2018, reached 192, according to the Martyrs’ Documentation Office in Daraa.

The office’s database records more than 6,800 people from Daraa, who are detained, missed or forcibly disappeared, according to al-Shara’.

The office also documented the killing of 25 people under torture in the government forces’ prisons during 2021.

  • No commitment

Although the agreement reached in Daraa included not to arrest anyone who had settled his status, the government’s security forces have arrested 67 people in the governorate since the start of the implementation of the agreement, according to a member of the Martyrs Documentation Office said.

Al-Shara’ indicated that out of 67 people, 35 were released, while the fate of the others is still unknown.

According to local sources, the government security services arrested a number of residents of Hosh Hammad village, far east of the Lajat area in the eastern countryside of Daraa, despite their settlement in June 2018 after the agreement sponsored by Russia at the time.

The security services did not abide by the settlement agreement that took place in 2018, as residents of Daraa governorate were arrested, some of whom were released after paying large sums of money to officers in the government forces, some of which amounted to more than $ 30,000, according to the same sources.

In September 2019, Faisal al-Subaih, from the eastern countryside of Daraa, was arrested on the Damascus-Amman Highway, west of the town of Izraa in the eastern countryside of Daraa.

According to one of his relatives, “government security services arrested al-Subaih, and they told us, after inquiring about him, that he had been transferred to Damascus.”

According to a relative, al-Subaih was a leader in the Syrian opposition factions before the government forces took control of southern Syria and joined the settlement agreement.

“We have not yet known his fate, despite his settlement card,” he added.

Reporting by Ihsan Muhammad

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