Syrian regime has been arresting refugees who have been forcibly repatriated from Lebanon

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) revealed in its latest monthly report that no fewer than 98 cases of arbitrary arrests were documented in April 2024, including two women. The group also noted that the Syrian regime has been arresting refugees who have been forcibly repatriated from Lebanon.

The report further notes that Syrian regime forces carried out arrests/detentions of refugees who had been forcibly repatriated from Lebanon. This took place after the Lebanese army had carried out raid and arrest campaigns targeting Syrian refugees in Lebanon who were then deported to the border. Most of those arrested at the border by Syrian regime forces were taken to security and military detention centers in the two governorates of Homs and Damascus.

Moreover, the report records widespread arrests/detentions of civilians by regime personnel in the governorates of Rural Damascus, Damascus, and Daraa on the pretext of the detainees failing to join the regime’s military or reserve forces as part of the mandatory military service policy. These arrests were carried out during raids or mass arrests at checkpoints and even targeted individuals who had previously agreed to settle their security situation with the regime in the areas that saw settlement agreements. Also, the report documents multiple arrests/detentions of people on their way to the Syrian-Lebanese border with the aim of crossing irregularly into Lebanon.
Most of these arrests were concentrated primarily in Homs governorate. Furthermore, there were widespread, random arrests/detentions by regime forces targeting citizens in the governorates of Damascus, Hama, and Aleppo. Most of these arrests were carried out as part of mass raid and arrest campaigns, as well as at checkpoints, which the report believes were the result of ill-intentioned and malicious security reports. On a related note, the report stresses that, through these arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances carried out in April, the Syrian regime continues to violate the order of the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued on November 16, 2023, on requesting provisional measures in the case brought by Canada and the Netherlands against the Syrian regime on the application of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The report stresses that the UN must form an impartial special committee to monitor cases of arbitrary arrest and reveal the fate of the 102,000 missing persons in Syria, 85 percent of whom are detained by the Syrian regime. The report adds that pressure should be applied on all parties to immediately reveal their detention records in accordance with a timetable to immediately make detainees’ whereabouts public, and allow humanitarian organizations and the International Committee of Red Cross to have direct access to them.

Lastly, the report emphasizes that children and women should immediately be released from captivity, and families and friends of detainees or wanted individuals should not be detained as prisoners of war, as well as providing a number of additional recommendations.

Reference: The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR)