Dozens of families wait at the President's Bridge in Damascus for relatives they hope would be among those released from prison on May 3, 2022. (Photo: AP)
15 Palestinians have been released from Syrian regime prisons over the past week, following a presidential amnesty issued by the country’s president Bashar AlAssad, according to human rights sources.
The release decision has been issued at random, leaving hundreds of families on tenterhooks as they continue to impatiently seek information about the condition and whereabouts of their relatives.
The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) has been able to identify the names of 15 newly-released Palestinian refugees: Mohamed Karem Rashdan and Ashraf Mahmoud, both from Khan Eshieh Camp, along with Mazen Mohamed AlSukari, a resident of Arabein who was released on April 3. Noufen Mohamed, from Latakia, also appears on the list.
On Thursday, Palestinian refugees Mohamed Khalil Kasem, Naser Khalifa, Zuheir Ahmad Salim, Shadi Mustafa Khurmi, residents of Yarmouk Camp, south of Damascus, were released.
The list includes three women: Reham Walid Alyan, Hala Abdul Karim Makat, and Ghousoun Abu Hashish.
On Friday, the Syrian regime released Palestinian refugees Nidal Ibrahim Tamim, from Qudsaya town, Yehya Darwish, from AlHajar AlAswad, and Bayan Ali AlDandel.
Scores of other prisoners released as part of the amnesty have been unidentified. Recently, the families of hundreds of Palestinian refugees secretly held in Syria’s state-run prisons have reported being blackmailed over their appeals for information about the condition and whereabouts of their missing relatives.
Speaking on Prisoners’ Voice website, ex-prisoners and activists have warned prisoners’ families not to publish their relatives’ personal information on social media networks.
Last week, AlAssad issued a decree giving a general amnesty to people convicted on terrorism charges before 30 April 2022. The amnesty excludes acts that have led to killings or kidnappings, and those against whom there are civil personal claims.
Thousands of Palestinians and Syrians have been jailed on terror charges for peaceful opposition to Assad’s government since the 2011 Arab Spring protests and subsequent war.
The Prisoners’ Council said the regime claimed 2,500 people would be included in the amnesty. However, no more than a few hundreds have been released so far.