Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Syrian women recount regime prison ordeal

DETAINEES | 2018-03-08 16:54:00
Syrian women recount regime prison ordeal
   UK-based rights group says regime forces responsible 7,699 rape cases
By Burak Karacaoglu and Mohamad Misto

- (IDLIB, Syria/ ISTANBUL)- Women who escaped from prisons run by the Bashar al-Assad regime say they suffered all forms of torture, including rape.

The regime forces are responsible for 7,699 rape cases involving at least 864 women and at least 432 minor girls held in detention centers, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Network for Human Rights.

However, the actual number of women raped in detention may be much larger, as arrests go unrecorded and rape victims are forced to remain silent.

Some women who escaped these prisons to safer areas in Syria narrated their ordeal to Anadolu Agency.

M.F., the owner of a beauty salon in Syrian port city Latakia, said she was beaten till her bones and teeth were broken. She stayed in prison for 50 days after being arrested for providing humanitarian aid.

"You cannot explain in words what the regime does to imprisoned women and Syrian people. The [regime-backed] Shabiha militias ... have killed many people with their torture," she said.

She said inside the prisons inmates faced physical and mental torture.

"The torture rooms were beside the cells. We could see people being tortured.

"Once a woman was imprisoned with her husband and brother. They stripped her in front of them, and then raped her.

"Another woman once became pregnant, and they beat her until she lost the baby," she said.

L.A, 32, another woman who suffered at these prisons said she was arrested in 2013 and her baby was taken away from her.

"At the detention center they took me to a bath to interrogate me... They stripped me off forcefully. I was very ashamed but could not do anything. The more I resisted the more they beat me," she said.

After 10 days she was released, but rearrested three months later.

Describing the prisons, she said: "There were people who resembled corpses. There were all kinds of torture. They first beat us with electric cables, then gave electric shocks.

"Many were unable to bear it and died. They treated us like insects."

After a month, she was sent to a place locally known as "Palestine Unit" in the capital Damascus.

"I had not idea what Palestine Unit was. But I understood what it signified after I read a signboard at the entrance saying: 'Entrance mandatory, exit forbidden'," she added.

She was shifted to "Atra Prison" next and released two months later. She was rearrested for alleged murder and sent "Adra Prison".

There she got ill due to contaminated water. "I am better [physically] but not psychologically."

Women have come out as the greatest victims of Syria's ongoing civil war.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

*Names withheld to protect privacy

Anadolu Agecny
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