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Survivors recall torture in Syrian regime prisons

Ex-prisoners speak about cruel torture methods during incarceration in Syrian regime prisons

A Syrian woman formerly jailed by the Bashar al-Assad regime cannot forget the memories of the torture dungeons.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Um Muhammed, 55, who was paralyzed by a regime air raid, recalls the inhumane torture methods and cruelties she witnessed during her imprisonment at El-Khatib detention center in Damascus.

In 2014, Um Muhammed's house in Haresta, east of Damascus, was struck by a regime airstrike.

She was paralyzed when a shrapnel was stuck in her spinal cord.

She was transferred to a hospital in Damascus where she was imprisoned there.

"They locked me up in a room with my daughters. Medical treatment was forbidden. They just kept me in the hospital. There was not any service,” Um Muhammed recalled.

After the hospital confinement, the woman and her daughters were taken to an interrogation center.

Um Muhammed was kept in detention for more than two years together with her daughters. 

“We were held underground. We couldn't see the sun. We were 19 people in a 1.5 square meter area. We couldn't sleep properly,” she said. 

“My daughters and other young people were beaten to death. They tortured young people day and night. I prayed to Allah for them,” Um Muhammed said. 

"I can't forget the screams of the tortured young people and women. They're always in my mind,” she recalled. 

"I saw bodies with their eyes out and with severed limbs.” 

Underlining that there was no food or water, Um Muhammed said that some of the young people's arms were bruised because of the insects inside. 

“Even if the patients were to die, they would not give them painkillers. When we wanted water, they used to make us drink from toilets,” she said. 

"I wished to die. I had no more patience," she said. 

"They used to separate children from their mother. I did not know where they were taken. Mothers used to cry for their children,” the Syrian mother said. 

Released after two years 

After two years and one month in detention, Um Muhammed and her daughters were released and relocated to Idlib. 

"After the prisoner exchange, the regime drove us from there. They confiscated our property, homes and workplaces. They deported us to Idlib,” she said. 

The Syrian mother is now bedridden as a result of having no medical treatment during her imprisonment. 

“I refer them (Assad's regime) to God’s punishment,” she said. 

Ex-prisoner accused of "jihad marriage" 

Another women, married with three children, was formerly jailed by the Syrian regime on charges of "jihad marriage".

Nur Nedim Mulhim from Al-Qusayr district of western Homs province, was detained in Oct. 2014 on charges of having a temporary wedding with military opponents fighting against regime forces.

“Yes, we supported the opposition. We helped them, but we didn't see any mistakes against us,” Mulhim told Anadolu Agency.

Recalling the inhumane torture methods during her imprisonment at several detention centers, Mulhim said: “The interrogators were constantly changing. As they changed, the torture increased.”

“They enjoyed it. They used to drink tea and coffee while torturing us,” Mulhim said.

Underlining that she was interrogated twice a day at El-Khatib detention center, Mulhim said: “My hands were tied. My eyes were closed. I was constantly beaten. They insulted us for not confessing.”

“They accused me of getting support from the Saudis, having a jihad wedding, and helping the terrorists. They made me sign documents with my eyes closed,” Mulhim added.

According to Mulhim, masked people took her to interrogation and whipped her feet and face.

“I saw them hanging a 55-year-old woman on the ceiling and torturing her. Blood was dripping from her dress,” she said. 

Humanitarian crisis in Syria 

Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures, while women and children continue to bear the full brunt of the conflict. 

According to the International Conscience Movement, an NGO, more than 13,500 women have been jailed since the Syrian conflict began, while more than 7,000 women remain in detention, where they are subjected to torture, rape and sexual violence.

The movement is an alliance of individuals, rights groups and organizations aiming to secure urgent action for the release of women and children in the prisons of the Syrian regime. 

Anadolu Agency

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