Syrian regime must return 'remains of disappeared', Amnesty says
An international human rights group says the Syrian regime must return the remains of scores of people confirmed dead after being forcibly disappeared.
Amnesty International responded to reports that the Syrian regime confirmed in public records the deaths of at least 161 people known to have been forcibly disappeared since the start of the civil war in 2011.
"Scores of Syrian families are today confronting a fresh kind of pain," Diana Semaan, Amnesty's Syria researcher, said.
She said for years the families suffered from not knowing what happened to their missing relatives and now they have confirmation those loved ones are dead.
"The Syrian government must immediately return the remains of these victims to their families to allow for proper burials and funeral rites, and inform their relatives of the circumstances of the enforced disappearances and deaths of their loved ones."
Amnesty said in its Thursday statement that at least 82,000 people have been subjected to forced disappearances since the conflict began.
Rights groups have accused the regime of large-scale torture and extrajudicial killing in its prisons.
As many as 13,000 people were hanged in five years at a notorious Syrian government prison near Damascus, Amnesty International said last year, accusing the regime of a "policy of extermination."
It found that at least once a week between 2011 and 2015, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells in Saydnaya prison for arbitrary trials, beaten, then hanged "in the middle of the night and in total secrecy."