Human Rights Organizations Say 28,000 Civilians Missing in Syria
BBC, GUARDIAN, SYRIAN NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UK), AVAAZ (USA)
According to human rights organizations, at least 28,000 civilians have disappeared in Syria since the beginning of the protests last year, the BBC reports.
Most of them seem not to be militants but ordinary people who have been picked up by the regime of Bashar Assad, possibly for questioning. Their families receive no information about them, not even whether they have been arrested or detained. The Syrian Network for Human Rights, based in London, has been compiling long lists of individual cases of disappearances, massacres, arrests, torture and murders.
Online rights organization Avaaz says it has collected and confirmed with independent sources the names of 18,000 Syrians reported as having vanished, and that it has the names of 10,000 more.
Alice Jay, campaign director at Avaaz, said Syrians were being "plucked off the street by security forces and paramilitaries and being "disappeared" into torture cells,” reports the BBC. She said it was a deliberate strategy to "terrorize families and communities".
The organization is planning to hand over its dossier to the United Nations this week, according to the Guardian.
The UN and Arab League special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is expected to arrive in Damascus on Saturday. There are indications that he may be able to broker a temporary cease-fire between Assad’s regime and the rebels, possibly at the time of the Aid Al-Ahra, according to the Guardian. The Aid is a Muslim festival that takes place this year on Friday, October 26.