Between 28,000 and 80,000 Syrians have been forcibly "disappeared" by the Assad regime over the past 19 months, reveals a new report released today. Here are some of their stories:
As the fighting rages across Syria, leaving thousands dead and forcing hundreds of thousands more to flee the country, Bashar al-Assad's regime has also been using another tactic to sow fear and silence dissent: making citizens vanish. Women are snatched as they shop for groceries, farmers are abducted on their way to buy heating fuel, and fathers are grabbed in front of their children. The scale of this outrage is daunting. But now fearful families have broken their silence, and they are demanding to know where their loved ones are.
"Mais," whose husband "Anas" (not their real names) was forcibly disappeared in Talkalakh in February this year, told Avaaz: “The children need a father in their lives. It has been difficult to adapt. I have had a very hard time explaining his absence. They always ask me, ‘Where is Dad? Who took him?’ And I don’t know how to respond. I have to lie to them. I tell them he is at work, that he is ok.”
As Syrians prepare for another winter of deprivation and terror, the world remains handcuffed by Russia, unable to intervene. This week, Avaaz will be handing the names of the disappeared over to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, demanding that the regime release these people.
The BBC, Guardian and many others are running stories today about Syria's disappeared. Here is more information released by Avaaz this morning. Help break the fear and spread this video among everyone you know.