Quantifying the toll of Syria’s violence and forced disappearances
At least 28k Syrians, and possibly as many as 80k, have been forcibly disappeared by the Assad Regime in the last 19 months, according to new research conducted by advocacy group Avaaz. Since the initial peaceful protests in March 2011, government crackdowns, abductions, and violence have escalated continuously.
The report comes on the heels of a report last month in which a British advocacy group calculated the death toll of the then 18th-month-long conflict as at least 30,000 people. A strengthened resistance force and more forceful government responses have contributed to a marked increase in both deaths and disappearances in recent months.
Our own Ahed Al Hendi recounted his experience as a Syrian dissident in Foreign Policy’s blog earlier this week.
“They threw me into a cell they called "the Suite." Measuring five feet by one and a half feet, it had no windows. There was a hole in the floor for a toilet and a hose attached to a faucet in the wall. The hose had two purposes: to keep the toilet clean and to provide me with drinking water. They told me I'd be staying for two years.
As it turned out, they let me go in 40 days. But that was more than enough. During that period, which I spent entirely in solitary confinement, I was interrogated constantly. I was tortured repeatedly, both psychologically and physically. (Forgive me, but I would prefer not to go into the details.) Every single day I feared death.”