Syria website releases database of people 'wanted by regime'
A Syrian opposition news website has released a massive database of people wanted by the Assad regime based on an allegedly leaked trove of intelligence documents.
Zaman al-Wasl this week launched the searchable database, which includes the names of what it says are 1.5 million people against whom Syrian authorities have issued arrest warrants, interrogations orders and travel bans.
The website has so far released two batches of names - the fist was released on March 15 to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the Syrian uprising.
"We are attempting to shed light on the fate of people detained and forcibly disappeared as well as warn those who the regime is pursuing and working to arrest," the news site said.
"Syrians living in exile will be able to search the data to see if they or their relatives are listed" it said, adding that the information is also aimed at helping human rights groups with research.
The final batch of names will be released next Sunday.
The New Arab could not independently verify the authenticity of the names.
Zaman al-Wasl says the database is based on a leaked archive of Syrian intelligence services, with the latest records dating back to mid-2017.
In a report published last year, Amnesty International said at least 75,000 people arrested by regime security forces since the beginning of the conflict have gone missing.
The rights group said that thousands of people have died in custody in Syria's brutal detention centres with tens of thousands more experiencing shocking torture.
The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.
According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.
The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.