The Syrian-Turkmen opposition leader, Tarik Solak, described suffering in Sednaya Military Prison in Rif Dimashq, known as the “Human Slaughterhouse.” He mentioned that at least half a million Syrians are still in the regime cells under inhumane detention conditions.
This revelation came during his interview with Anadolu News Agency on the situation of detainees in the prisons of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and the fate of Idlib Governorate (north) and Turkmen Mountain in the northern countryside of Lattakia, Syria.
Solak, who leads the third coastal division of Turkmen Mountain, said that the issue of detainees is one of the most critical issues in the Syrian crisis.
He explained that the decision of the pilot project for the release of prisoners during the tenth meeting of the Guarantor States held in the Russian city of Sochi on July 30-31 created a kind of hope for them.
Solak said that more than 500 thousand Syrian prisoners in the regime’s prisons are subjected to the most severe types of torture, especially those in Sednaya Military Prison in Rif Dimashq, which Amnesty International described as the “human slaughterhouse”.
He added that he was among those arrested at Sednaya Military Prison, where he remained for nearly two and a half years.
Solak talked about the way he was arrested in 2011. When he was a member of the Syrian Armed Forces, He and a group of his colleagues were about to split when they were arrested and placed in the prison mentioned above as a result of the news that reached the authorities.
Regarding the circumstances of his arrest, Solak said that he had been held for 33 days in a two-storey underground room that was large enough to function as a toilet only.
He continued: “After being moved into the cell, we had been subjected to different types of torture. We had been tortured by electricity every time we ate, and they used to throw our dishes in the toilet and then tell us to eat them from there.”
He added: “We had been tortured with water hoses to death, and prevented from seeing the face of the soldier who was torturing us.”
He pointed out that in the last three months before he left prison, his fellow prisoners stopped eating and drinking, and then started to vomit and suffer from diarrhoea only to die shortly after this suffering.
Solak, who was released from prison as a result of a general amnesty on 14 June 2014, stressed that he had experienced all these types of torture and that he was waiting for death before his surprising release.
He said that after his release from prison he was in terrible health condition and went to his Governorate of Lattakia in the north-west of the country. He then weighed no more than 40 kilograms as a result of torture and detention conditions. He explained that he had undergone five surgeries in the stomach and intestines after his release.
Solak said that he joined the ranks of the second coastal group in Mount Turkmen immediately after he recovered and led it shortly after entering it.
He said that the Syrian regime has increased the number of prisons after the crisis. It has even turned some schools into prisons. He noted that there are more than 4 thousand prisoners in Sednaya Prison alone.
According to a report issued by Amnesty International in February 2017, the regime executed between September 2011 and December 2015 between 5 and 13 thousand people without prosecution.
Regarding the latest situation in Turkmen Mountain, the Syrian Solak said that the regime and the Shiite and leftist militias led by terrorist Miraj Oral are preparing to launch a military operation to take over the area.
He stressed that by launching the operation against the Turkmen Mountain, which includes a Turkish checkpoint, the Iranian Shiite militias aim at foiling the cease-fire agreement signed between Turkey and Russia.
Solak stressed that their priority is to protect Idlib Governorate from the attacks of the regime and its militias, as losing it means the loss of the Turkmen Mountain and the entire cities of Al-Bab and Afrin, as he put it.
He expressed their distrust of the Russian promises to them on the exclusion of Idlib from the regime’s military operations. He cited Moscow’s failure to fulfil its obligations to the rebels of Daraa (south), which the regime has recently targeted and taken over.
He concluded by referring to their readiness to repel any attack targeting the Turkmen Mountain and Idlib Governorate and stressed on their commitment to the Turkish strategy which would guarantee a ceasefire in Syria.