A man from al Jarthi village in the eastern suburbs of Deir Ez-Zour governorate, named as Rafea Aswad al Khallaf al Ali, was arrested by Syrian regime forces in May 2020 while he was passing through a checkpoint in Damascus city. Since then, he has been classified as forcibly disappeared, with the Syrian regime denying any knowledge of his arrest and preventing anyone, even a lawyer, from visiting him. On December 21, 2020, SNHR received information confirming his death in custody. Our data from numerous sources confirms that he was in good health at the time of his arrest, indicating that he probably died due to torture in a regime detention center.
SNHR has received confirmation that Syrian regime forces failed to hand over his body to his family; this is standard practice for the regime, with the bodies of the majority of detainees who die in its detention centers being disposed of through mass cremations. Since the whereabouts of these prisoners’ remains is unknown and they are not handed over to their relatives, they continue to be classified as being among the forcibly disappeared.
SNHR can confirm that at least 130,785 Syrian citizens are still detained or forcibly disappeared in the regime’s detention centers, constituting a grave threat to the detainees’ wellbeing, given the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
SNHR notes that at least 14,269 Syrian citizens have died due to torture in Syrian regime forces’ detention center.