A soldier who defected from Syrian regime forces, named as Muhammad Ghassan Aoun, born in 1999, from Jasem city in the northern suburbs of Daraa governorate, was arrested by the regime in 2020 when he handed himself over to them despite being amongst those agreed on a settlement earlier. Since then, he has been classified as forcibly disappeared, with the Syrian regime denying his arrest and preventing anyone, even a lawyer, from visiting him. On August 22, 2021, his family was informed of his death in the regime’s Sydnaya Military Prison in Damascus suburbs governorate. SNHR 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 the prison.
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 families, they continue to be classified as being among the forcibly disappeared.
SNHR can confirm that at least 131,178 Syrian citizens are still detained or forcibly disappeared in the regime’s detention centers, constituting a grave threat to the detainees’ wellbeing, particularly given the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
SNHR notes that at least 14,338 Syrian citizens have died due to torture in Syrian regime forces’ detention center.