More than 14,000 civilians in Syria have been tortured to death by the Assad regime and its forces since the start of the civil war, Syrian Human Rights Network has reported.
According to a report issued yesterday by the rights group to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, “14,227 individuals (including 177 children and 62 women) have died due to torture at the hands of main parties to the conflict in Syria from March 2011 to June 2019.” The vast majority of those tortured to death, 14,070, were in the custody of the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Around one per cent were killed by opposition forces, with 56 killed by torture at the hands of Daesh and other “Islamist groups”. There were also 43 people killed by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), 43 killed by other opposition groups, and 15 killed under torture by unidentified actors.
The report stressed that it should be noted that the statistics cite only those who were able to be identified and reported, and that the real death toll is possibly far higher.
Since the beginning of the conflict, and even preceding years, the Assad regime has been infamous for torturing political prisoners and innocent civilians. Reports have surfaced of the regime’s intelligence services targeting anyone associated with a protestor in any way.
Throughout the past few months in particular, as the conflict has largely died down due to Assad’s victory in most of his former territories, there have emerged horrific reports of abuses being committed by the regime. Detailed accounts of enhanced torture techniques, degrading prison conditions and rape have come to light.
Even Syrians who have gone back home after paying large bribes to security officials and pledging their loyalty to the state are being targeted with arrests and interrogations by the Syrian secret police. Furthermore, almost 128,000 Syrians are allegedly missing inside the vast network of prisons run by the regime.