A play in northern Syria tells the suffering of the detainees

Thousands of Syrians were killed under torture just to demand freedom. (All photos in 13 April 2019)

13 April 2019 | A theatrical performance in Azaz city, northwestern Syria, simulates the lives of detainees in Syrian intelligence prisons.

Theatre culture in Syria ended five decades ago when the family of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seized power. At that time, freedom of expression ended in Syria, and theaters turned into bland works purporting to criticize the government.

These actions served as a place for the people to vent their anger instead of venting their anger in demonstrations. People later caught up with the idea and abandoned theaters for decades.

The play represents the acts of torture that Syrian detainees are facing daily in the Syrian intelligence prisons.

Syrian intelligence has killed more than 10,000 Syrians under torture and is still detaining about 130,000 Syrians since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in early 2011, according to the Paris-based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

Detainees in Syrian intelligence prisons face systematic torture on a daily basis in extremely deplorable detention conditions.

Torture in Syrian intelligence prisons includes absolutely horrific methods such as pulling out nails, flaying detainees’ skin, pouring boiling oil on their bodies, deliberately crushing their bones, severe beatings with iron bars, and hanging them from their hands or feet on a ceil for days during interrogation operations.

All kinds of torture were revenge operations only because some detainees participated in demonstrations calling for freedom.

Syrian detainees spend most of their detention underground, deprived of sunlight or seeing sky, in poorly ventilated, insect-infested prisons.

Male and female former detainees have reported to human rights groups that they have been faced sexual assaults.

Psychological torture also includes threatening to kill and rape detainees’ relatives, depriving them of sleep for days, and leaving detainees’ wounds to rot without medical treatment, which exposes them to serious health problems.

In 2020, Germany began the trial of a Syrian doctor loyal to Assad, after it was found that he worked in a military hospital, where he performed complex orthopedic surgery on one of the detainees without anesthesia, and was involved in torturing other detainees.

In June 2020, the United States announced severe historic sanctions against the Syrian authorities, known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.

The sanctions were named by this name to perpetuate the work of a Syrian photographer who defected from the Syrian authorities and leaked in 2013 about 50,000 photos of about 7,000 Syrians killed under torture.

The US-based Human Rights Watch found in extensive research that the largest number of detainees were killed in Syrian Military Intelligence prisons.

The pictures showed the bodies of Syrian civilians in a disastrous condition. They looked like skeletons, their bodies were very slender, their bones were prominent, and they showed signs of burns and horrific torture.

Harun al-Aswad was detained in 2012 for a year in the cellars of the Syrian Military Intelligence.