A Syrian Democratic Forces member stands guard at a prison where suspected Islamic State affiliates are jailed in Hasakeh (AFP)
1,797 Palestinian refugees have been secretly held in Syrian government dungeons since the outburst of deadly hostilities, according to human rights data.
In statistics released On the International Day of the Disappeared, the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) reiterated its deep concerns about the upsurge in the number of Palestinian victims of torture and enforced disappearance in Syria.
The International Day of the Disappeared, marked on August 30 of each year, is a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives.
AGPS also documented the death of over 620 Palestinian refugees under torture in Syrian government lock-ups, including women, children, and elderly civilians.
Affidavits gathered by AGPS from ex-detainees provided evidence on the involvement of Syrian government officers in harsh torture tactics, including electric shocks, heavy beating using whips and iron sticks, and sexual abuse against Palestinian detainees, in a flagrant violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).
AGPS estimates the real number to be far higher due to the gag orders slapped by the Syrian government on the detainees’ names and fates, along with the families’ reluctance to report such cases over retaliation concerns.
Human rights monitors continue to urge the Syrian government to disclose the fate of scores of Palestinians held in its lock-ups, release the bodies of those tortured to death, to seriously work on halting harsh torture tactics, launch fact-finding probes into crimes of torture, and to bring those involved in such crimes before courts.