Syria/Afrin: In light of a major media blackout, a citizen dies under torture in the prisons of armed factions

On 20th April 2024, the administration of Al-Rai Prison informed the families of the detained Kurdish citizen, “Jangin Othman Naasan” 36, from the “Ruta/Al-Mazoula” village in the Maabatli/Mobata district. His family – his grandmother in the “Gazeah” village near Afrin city center to receive his body from the hospital in Al-Rai town in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, where he died under torture in Al-Rai prison, which is run by the Sultan Murad faction.

However, the victim’s family disowned him and no one dared to come forward to receive the body for fear of the consequences and the reaction of the factions against them. Therefore, his body was buried in Al-Rai town in Al-Bab region in the eastern countryside of Aleppo on 23rd April 2024.

On 7th June 2020, members of the Jabha Al-Shamia faction arrested all members of the family from their home in Ashrafieh neighborhood in Afrin center on charges of participating in bombings. At that time, the Jabha Al-Shamia’s members seized their homes and stole all of its contents. The detainees are:

The father is called “Othman Majeed Naasan”, (65) years old.

The mother is called “Zaynab Abdo”, (60) years old.

And their children are:

– Jangin Othman Naasan, 36 years old.

– Zalikha Walid Omar, (30) years old, Jangin’s wife.

– Shiyar Othman Naasan, (30) years old, his wife was absent.

– Muhammad Othman Naasan, (28) years old.

– Geylan Samir Jamal Hamalo, (26) years old, Muhammad’s wife, with two children.

In July 2021, the elderly woman (Zaynab Abdo) was released from the women’s section in Maratah prison in the center of Afrin city due to an incurable disease that afflicted her. She became homeless and met a painful fate. Then she moved to live alone in her original village, “Ruta/Al-Mazoula” in an old house, where she died later on 23rd December 2021, she was burned under mysterious circumstances.

In August 2021, Zalikha Walid Omar, Jangin’s wife, was released. She was suffering from neurological epilepsy before her arrest. Her health condition deteriorated due to torture and harsh conditions in the prison. She was left homeless without shelter or breadwinner and in a deplorable condition.

The fate of the rest of the family members (Othman, Shiyar, Muhammad, Geylan and the two children) is still unknown. Noting that the family of the victim “Jangin” has been residing in Afrin city for decades and they have no relatives left in their original village, “Ruta/Al-Mazoula”.

A private source told “Lelun” that: “The death incident has already occurred, but the family has no relatives in the village and all of the family members are detained on charges related to disturbing the security. They do not have sufficient information because there is no one to follow up on their cases or visit them in prison.”

Human Rights Watch had issued its annual report for the year 2023 in February of 2024, in which it referred to the violations committed by the armed factions and Turkish forces against indigenous Kurdish civilians, including torture and killing in prisons. “The types of torture they (survivors) spoke of included severe and prolonged beatings, often using cables, electrical wires and metal pipes – pulling teeth and nails, hanging from the ceiling or on cupboards with ropes and burning with cigarettes. Former detainees often reported that they were blindfolded and handcuffed during interrogation.”

The report also referred to cases of death under torture, according to testimonies of survivors of detention from armed faction prisons. Such as the killing of lawyer Luqman Hanan (45 years old) under torture on 22nd December 2022.

In addition, the Kurdish citizen, Kawa Jamal Omar, 35 years old, was killed two years after his arrest in Al-Rai prison, under torture and he was buried in a water well near the prison.

According to human rights reports and activists, cases of killing under torture in prisons and detention centers supervised by armed factions affiliated with the Syrian National Army and Turkish intelligence since the occupation of the Afrin region in 2018 have risen to 151 detainees until September 2022.

It is worth noting that the Afrin region suffers from severe cases of torture against detainees, who are deprived of communication with their families, and there are those whose fate is unknown, whether they are alive or not.

An international institution specialized in missing persons in Syria was formed, which began its work at the beginning of April of the current year 2024 to work on searching for the fate of missing persons from all parties of the conflict. In addition to providing assistance, including urgently needed psychological and social assistance to families and survivors.

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