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BBC, GUARDIAN, SYRIAN NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UK), AVAAZ (USA)

Worldcrunch

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.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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