Paris – Syrian Network for Human Rights
Nineteen-year-old Diyar Khalil Omar, a former employee of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ Culture and Art Administration, from Basouta village of Afrin city in northern Aleppo governorate, was living in al Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in Aleppo city at the time of his arrest by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) personnel on August 14, 2022.
He was detained, without any court warrant being issued, after being summoned to the SDF’s National Security Office in al Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood, and was taken to an SDF detention center. He wasn’t allowed to contact his family or a lawyer.
On September 3, 2022, an SDF member notified Diyar’s family of his death in custody. Upon visiting the SDF headquarters, the family members received a medical report which stated that he had died on August 31, 2022 due to lack of oxygen. His body, which was returned to his family from the detention center where he was imprisoned in al Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood, bore various marks indicating he’d been subjected to severe torture. SNHR received several photos on September 4, 2022, clearly showing that the victim, Diyar Khalil Omar, had been brutally tortured.
SNHR confirms that at least eight deaths due to torture and lack of medical care in SDF detention centers have been documented since the start of 2022.
SNHR has also observed an increase in the rate of detention and enforced disappearances, as well as in the suppression of fundamental freedoms, in regions under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, mainly in Hasaka and Deir Ez-Zour governorates, and the northern and eastern suburbs of Aleppo governorate, due to residents’ criticism of the SDF’s policies in areas under its control.
International law categorically prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and this is a customary rule that cannot be compromised or compared with other rights or values, not even in a state of emergency, while violating the prohibition of torture is a crime in international criminal law. Persons who ordered or assisted in torture bear criminal responsibility for such practices.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights condemns all detention and torture practices carried out by the SDF, and calls for an immediate independent investigation into all incidents of arrest and torture that have occurred in SDF custody, especially this barbaric incident. We also emphasize the need for an independent investigation holding all those involved in this crime accountable, starting with those who ordered it and including those who carried it out, and insist that Syrian society must be informed of the results of this investigation, with full accountability for its perpetrators. We emphasize that all those who have been involved in these heinous detention and torture practices over the years must be exposed, dismissed and tried for their crimes, and that all victims, survivors and victims’ family members should be compensated for the physical, psychological and emotional damage they have been subjected to.
The SDF must not follow the strategy of the Syrian regime and Russia in denying the occurrence of violations, a strategy which has resulted in no member of the regime’s security or military apparatus, or shabih ever being held accountable for their crimes.