A Syrian father and his son have died under torture in the prison system of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, two years after leaving the Al-Rukban refugee camp and negotiating their resettlement in regime territory.
In a statement by the Tribal Council of Palmyra and Badia, Moayad al-Obaid and Abdulaziz Al-Obaid “were tortured to death in [the] notorious Sednaya prison”.
The two had formerly resided in the Rukban camp for displaced Syrians, located on the south-eastern border with Jordan, but decided to leave in 2020 due to the increasingly deteriorating conditions at the camp.
— عمر مدنيه (@Omar_Madaniah) October 31, 2022
They reportedly had their conditions settled at the time with the Assad regime under the backing Syrian Red Crescent and the Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria, responsible for allowing Syrians to reconcile with the regime and return to its territories. They then returned to their hometown of Al-Qaryatayn in the eastern countryside of Homs.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), they were arrested by regime forces and Hezbollah-affiliated militias only two months into their resettlement, and were disappeared with only rumours of their detention at Sednaya.
On 30 October, the news of the father and son’s death reached their family. According to a source close to the Al-Obaid family, who spoke to the news outlet, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “the regime security apparatus arrested Moayad and his son two months after their return and took them to an unknown place. Two days ago, the family received the news of their death, but it has not received the bodies.”
Maher Al-Ali, the head of the Tribal Council, told the outlet that “28 families, numbering more than 120 people, left Al-Rukban camp during this October, due to the poor living conditions”. He added that “all the families left for the regime-controlled areas”.
Al-Ali stressed that “the United Nations must enter the Rukban camp to assess the needs and provide assistance to the camp’s residents, most notably medical, food and educational, and we also call on the Jordanian side to open a medical point”.
The camp, which has been under siege by the Syrian regime throughout the ongoing civil war, is unable to receive sufficient medical and food supplies for its approximately 12,000 residents. It is also neglected by the Jordanian government, which insists that aid must be sent to it only through the Syrian side.
Al-Ali also raised concern for the returnees who leave the camp and are at risk of being betrayed and arrested by the Assad regime despite guarantees of safety, calling on the UN “to document cases of arrests and killings” under torture for returnees from the Rukban camp.