The Syrian regime has detained the head of one of its military intelligence divisions who is accused of executing and rapping dozens of Syrians the Tadamun neighbourhood of the capital, Damascus, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) reported yesterday.
According to the organisation, the Syrian regime has detained Amjad Youssef, an officer in the Syrian regime’s security forces’ 227 Region Branch of the Military Intelligence Division, who appeared in April in a report taking a blindfolded man and pushing him into a hole filled with bodies.
According to the report, Yousef confessed to having arrested or kidnapped dozens of Syrians in 2013, with 41 of those detained being taken to a pit dug for the purpose of serving as a mass grave, where they were thrown in and shot dead before their bodies were set alight.
SNHR said the Syrian regime has now retained Yousef but he has not been referred to the judiciary, and the regime has not issued any information indicating his arrest.
SNHR stressed that the regime may ‘disappear’ Amjad Yousef or kill him after he confessed his crimes for fear that more of those involved will be exposed, and to thwart further investigations.
“The Syrian regime protects the perpetrators of violations, and in some cases promotes them, so that they’re aware that their own fate is always organically linked to the regime’s fate, and so that defending it becomes an essential part of defending themselves,” SNHR said, adding that Yousef and thousands of other members of the regime’s security services and army forces would not have committed such atrocious violations had they not been part of a deliberate policy implemented at the direct orders of the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Al-Assad, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Armed Forces.
“Such large-scale violations need the coordination and cooperation of dozens of individuals and institutions, and while the Syrian regime must be aware of them, it has not only failed to institute any deterrence or accountability, but given the orders and facilitated their commission,” it said.
The Syrian Network expressed concern for the fate of the 87,000 people documented as being forcibly disappeared in regime prisons, which may be similar to that suffered by the victims in the Tadamun neighbourhood.
According to the organisation, the Syrian regime continues to detain at least 131,469 of those arrested since March 2011, with 86,792 classified as forcibly disappeared persons, including 1,738 children and 4,986 women.
Moreover, the Syrian regime had not announced the identity of those killed by Yousef and his partners or informed the victims’ families of their deaths.
The Syrian regime has systematically used enforced disappearance as one of its most prominent tools of repression and terrorism aimed at crushing and annihilating political opponents simply for expressing their opinion.