30 September 2016

Syria: Five Men Disappear Following Their Arrest at Checkpoints Between 2012 and 2016

On 10 August 2016, Alkarama and Human Rights Guardians wrote to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the cases of five men arrested at checkpoints by members of security forces – one by the State Security Forces, and four by the Military Security – between 2012 and 2016. They all remain disappeared since and their families, despite several steps taken, remain with little or no information of their fate and whereabouts.

A Man Disappeared for Almost Four Years Following his Arrest by the Military Security

On 29 December 2012, 35-year-old Ahmad Al-Hallak was on a bus on his way back home from Idlib where he had visited his wife. When the bus reached the Hisyah checkpoint on the Homs-Damascus Highway in the Homs Governorate, it was stopped by members of the Military Security, i.e. the Military Intelligence falling under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. Al-Hallak was promptly arrested, along with three men and two women. The two women, released after three months of detention, affirmed having been detained with Al-Hallak at the Military Security branch in Homs until 38 days after his arrest, when the three men were transferred to an unknown location.

Following his arrest, Al-Hallak’s wife inquired to the Military Police in Al-Qaboun, the Public Prosecutor in Damascus, and later to the Anti-Terrorism Court, however, no information was provided to her on her husband’s fate and whereabouts.

Two Young Men Disappeared Since Their Arrest in Damascus in 2013

On 2 April 2013, 28-year-old Wael Mansour was abducted at a checkpoint in the industrial area of Damascus by members of the Military Security, along with many other people around him. Following his disappearance, his mother visited multiple security branches to obtain information on him, but without any results.

On 24 August 2013, 27-year-old Mohamed Bakkor Al Jarban from Suran, a city in the Hama Governorate, was abducted at the Al Mazzah highway checkpoint in Damascus by the Military Security forces, as he was on his way to visit his uncle.

After his arrest, Al Jarban was transferred to the Al Khateeb State Security branch in Damascus, also known as “Branch 251”. His family went to the security branch to inquire about his status but they were denied information. In 2015, his family was told that he was detained by the Air Force Intelligence in Mezzeh prison – a military airport southwest of Damascus –, however, this information was never officially confirmed.

A Student Abducted at the Lebanese Border

On 5 August 2014, Hasan Masri, a 25-year-old university student in English Literature, was abducted at the Ad-Dabousiyah checkpoint on the border between Syria and Lebanon, where he was working, by agents of the Military Security. A week later, his family was informally told that he was detained at the Military Security Branch in Homs, but despite visiting all the security branches near his place of arrest, his family was denied information on his fate and whereabouts.

Six months later, his relatives were told by a former detainee that Masri was detained at the branch no. 215 of the Military Intelligence in Damascus, and that he had been subjected to severe torture that had left him seriously injured.

A Resident of Aleppo Disappears in March 2016 by the State Security Forces

On 26 March 2016, Youssef Al-Khalaf, a 31-year-old Syrian football player, was abducted at the Bustan Al-Qasr checkpoint in Aleppo by members of the army and the State Security forces, i.e. the General Intelligence Directorate falling under the authority of the Ministry of Interior. His father inquired about his whereabouts with various security forces branches, however, he did not obtain any information on his son.

On behalf of these five disappeared men’s family, Alkarama and Human Rights Guardians have called upon the WGEID to request the Syrian authorities to provide information on their current status and to ensure that their relatives be immediately informed of their fate and whereabouts. The five men should be released or immediately placed under the protection of the law.

For more information or an interview, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).

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