Save Syria's disappeared

Almost 3000 people have been forcibly disappeared since March 15, after Syrians rose up peacefully to demand freedom. Avaaz is calling for strong United Nations action to sanction the regime and bring the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity to justice. Take action now

Stories

Ahmad Ziadeh, 55, Damascus

Story 1

Ahmad was taken when regime intelligence officers raided his workplace on July 2, 2011

His daughter, Lila, 25, says they do not know why he was taken.

She said: “He's a just one example of too many cases who've been taken in the same way - doctors, engineers, students. Anyone who is active and have a role in our society. I think that they are trying to make people afraid all the time in order that they will not be able to think or move or do anything but be afraid of being taken away from their families at any time. And keep their families busy looking for them. It's a campaign of terror being waged against us. For instance they asked my friends about me last week - which made me panic at first and stop thinking.

My father is very well known in my home town and has helped a lot of people in the area, so almost everybody there knows him that if they took such a person then no-one is safe.

My father never helped protesters directly. But he did talk to the doctors who treated friends injured in the crackdown. He used to talk to them every Friday to make sure that everybody is ok.

I think that his disappearance definitely highlights the indiscriminate nature of the security forces' activities.

The intelligence agents were following him on his way to work. He noticed them and called me from his office. They came in and talked to him but he was still seeing a client so had a few minutes before they took him.

He asked one of them their name and where they were from and when he went back to finish his meeting with his client he left a note on his desk with these details. But we are not sure that they gave him the correct information, because we went to find him they denied that they had taken him.

I feel insecure, angry, disrespected, humiliated, and most of all worried to death about him.

I am insecure in my own country. Leaving Syria to any other country would be better because we will be respected no matter what, as long as we are active members in its society - at least we would be respected as a human being.

I am also angry because I can't do anything about my father’s disappearance. But I am the oldest child in my family and I carry the responsibility for almost everything and have to take care of almost everything. Besides, none of us can be weak, we have to keep tight together in order to be able to function, and try to help my father.

I am afraid that he might get hurt, or they might kill him, god forbid, or that he might end up with a permanent injury. He is old, and they are torturing people all the time.

This has a great effect on our life. I mean they might take any of our family at any time because of this.

I hope we will see him again, but we cannot expect anything from this regime. My friend’s father was taken in 1983 and nothing has been heard of him since.

But I do hope that nothing will happen to dad, god help him and us.

I Have had to go into hiding as the intelligence agents have been asking my friends about me. i don’t stay in one place for more than 2 days. I hope I am not caught. But I will never stop protesting and fighting for the end of the regime - even if they killed me.

I have a message for those who still support Bashar and his gang. I would tell them to wake up - there are human beings who are being killed. We do not want you to interfere, but just stop your support for those murderers.”

Muntaha

Story 1

Muntaha (name changed for her protection), a Syrian widow, has visited every security branch in her city over and over looking for her son, Yazan.

He is sixteen and joined a protest march for freedom nearly two months ago, and friends say he was taken away on a white bus where security forces battered him with big sticks until his nose and ears bled, and he lost consciousness. “Yazan did not vanish," says Muntaha. "The security forces have him, and I want him back.”

Timeline

December 7:

Tension continues in Al Hawla, Homs following the abudction of 14 passengers from a minibus the night before. Citizen journalists report that negotiations are still ongoing to secure the release of 6 women and 7 men.

December 6:

Nineteen people killed in the Homs area as sectarian violence threatens to engulf the region. Citizen journalists report that Shabiha militiamen have kidnapped 8 members of the Shuratani family from the neighbourhood of Abbasieh. Eyewitnesses report that the family was dragged through the streets and beaten before their abduction.

December 2:

Violent clashes take place in Tal Kalakh at the Syrian border with Lebanon for the third consecutive day. At least 5 have people have been killed and over 40 wounded.

November 3:

Eyewitnesses report "bodies in the street" of Homs as Assad ignores his pledge to the Arab League to pull tanks out of cities and end attacks against civilians. Activists describe the neighbourhood of Baba Amr as a "war zone" with evidence of shelling from tanks seen in videos.

October 24:

Avaaz obtains footage of a child begging for help before dying of a gunshot wound to the neck. Ahmad Daghstani was shot by government snipers in al-Bayada, Homs.



This is the second piece of footage to emerge in two days of a wounded child in Homs. The first is of a young girl screaming in fear as she bleeds from wounds sustained by a nail bomb in al-Waer, Homs.

September 27:

Residents describe Al-Rastan and Talbeesa as "war zone" as tanks and military jets pound the towns. The humanitarian situation worsens with a severe shortage of medical supplies and food.

September 20:

Teenager Zainab Alhasany is decapitated in revenge for activist brother's anti-regime activities. Her mutilated body is handed back to her family today. Media reports emerge claiming that 18 young girls are being held in a farm in Homs with many being raped and killed.

September 19:

Pupils demonstrate throughout the country at the beginning of the new school term, calling for the fall of the regime. Many are arrested and severely beaten.

September 15:

AVAAZ releases a new report revealing the names of 3,004 people killed in the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown. The revised death toll does not include a further 2,356 deaths that have been recorded but not verified by three separate eyewitnesses.

September 12:

10 people are killed in Hama as refugees in Turkey go on hunger strike in protest at the ill treatment received at the hands of Turkish police. Food prices on the increase throughout the country.

September 9:

Eight soldiers are executed in the Kisweh and Zabadani suburbs of Damascus for refusing to open fire on protesters. In Damascus, a mass grave is discovered in the town of Sayda Zainab.

September 7:

A brutal assault on Homs kills at least 34 residents. Widespread tank shelling is repored across the city. Security forces and Shabiha death squad storm hospitals in both Homs and Damascus, kidnapping patients, visitors and doctors.

September 6:

Widespread killing and arrests continue in Homs with prominent activists being taken into custody. Two residents are killed in an industrial area of Homs whilst at work. One of them is 15 year old Zakaria Farzat.

September 2:

Mass protests re-emerge throughout the country in what is named "The Friday of Death Rather than Humiliation". The brutal crackdown continues with demonstrators being fired upon and residents being arrested indiscriminately.

August 31:

At least 17 children are rounded up in the Moadamieh suburb of Damascus in a wave of arrests across Syria. Children's participation becomes commonplace. Footage depicts children taking part in demonstrations in Idleb.

August 29:

Raids on cities as well as army kidnappings continue throughout Syria. Despite this, the LCC releases a statement reiterating a message of non-violent protest.

August 26:

Eight are killed today in large protests that take place throughout the country. The day is named the "Friday of Patience and Persistence".

August 24:

Tanks intimidate crowds waiting to greet the UN delegation, and in Homs three are severely injured when the army opens fire at peaceful protesters. Indiscriminate shooting and arbitrary arrests continue throughout the country.

August 23:

Lawyers continue staging sit-ins in Damascus, Aleppo, al-Suwayda and Hasakeh to demand the indepence of unions and an end to the slaughter of the Syrian people.
Women and children hold protests in Banyas and Zabadani.

August 22:

Protesters gather in the New Clock Square in Homs to welcome a UN fact-finding delegation. Upon the departure of the delegation, security forces fire indiscriminately at the protesters.



In Raqaa, 100 lawyers stage a sit-in in solidarity with Syria's besieged cities. Security forces arrive and make many arrests, as witnessed by surveillance cameras and other lawyers, judges and visitors.

August 19:

In Daraa, security forces open fire on worshippers at a number of mosques after Friday prayers. Families had insisted on carrying out Friday prayers in mosques where the security forces had banned them from taking place.
Security forces and Shabiha open fire at demonstrators in Homs, injuring a child ammongst them.

August 18:

Security forces and shabiha continue to attack and arrest peaceful protesters around the country despite Bashar al-Assad's reassurances to the UN that the violence had ceased.

August 17:

Syrian security forces open fire in al-Rami camp in Latakia, killing 4 Palestinian refugees, including a 32 year-old woman and a 13 year-old girl. In Homs, indiscriminate firing kills at least five people.

August 16:

Indiscriminate heavy shelling continues in Latakia, killing at least 10 people. Residents and businesses in Alraml carry out a general strike in support of cities besieged by government forces.

August 15:

The regime's crackdown continues to intensify in Latakia where an attack on a Palestinian refugee camp forces 5,000 people to flee. Heavy gunfire also continues on residential houses.



August 13:

Syrian Army begins siege on Latakia.

August 12:

The Army's crackdown continues as it enters Aleppo, the country's largest city. Tens of thousands of protestors take to the street after Friday prayers calling for the death of Bashar al-Assad.

August 11:

Turkey's foreign minister meets with Assad and issues a "final warning" over the crackdown. A protester in Homs dies after he is run over by a tank.



August 8:

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain recall their ambassadors from Damascus. The death toll is estimated to have surpassed 2,000.

August 5:

Tens of thousands of protestors take to the streets in solidarity with the residents of Hama. Troops open fire on the protestors, killing at least 13.

August 7:

Demonstrations continue in Idleb. A man shot by security forces is rescued by demonstrators.



August 4:

Hundreds flee Hama as reports continue to emerge of dozens of killings by government forces using snipers, tanks and canons. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate with little access to food in the area.

July 31:

Over 100 killed in a massacre by government forces. The beginning of Ramadan marks an intensification of the conflict.



July 27:

Avaaz launches its Save Syria’s Disappeared Campaign – highlighting the plight of almost 3,000 men, women and children have disappeared without a trace in Syria since mid March.

July 23:

General Strike is held in several cities including Homs, Damascus and Aleppo. The funeral is held for 12 year old Talha Dalal who had been shot in the head in front of his house while watching protests on 15th July 2011.



July 22:

1.2 million people take to the streets in Syria in support of their fellow countrymen and women in Homs. 9 people are killed in regime attacks in Damascus, Idlib and Aleppo.

July 20:

More government tanks push into the city of Homs. Despite the arrests, mass civil disobedience breaks out in Homs in response to the government crackdown. Opposition members and LCCs issue statements promoting unity and condemning the Syrian regime for trying to stir up sectarian strife. Up to 50 people have been killed in Homs in this week.

July 18:

More than 30 killed in the city of Homs over the past two days. There is confusion about what sparked the violence and reports circulating in certain media outlets that Homs was fracturing along sectarian lines – particularly Sunni versus Allawi.

July 17:

2,000 troops enter the resort town of Zabadani at dawn and during the day over 300 people arrested. Stories start emerging of brutality in Homs.

July 16:

Opposition members meet in Istanbul, Turkey to form a unified opposition to the regime of Bashar al Assad; some 400 people take part in the "National Salvation Conference". A planned link up with members in Syria is aborted following the massacre in Qaboun the previous day. In Syria 9 more people are killed; the bodies of four men who disappeared in Homs four days previously are found.

July 15:

29 people died in possibly the largest but also the bloodiest Friday demonstrations so far in the uprising; police open fire on protesters in several towns and cities including Idlib, Homs, Daraa and Damascus. In the Qaboun district of the capital, 13 people are killed close to where opposition members are due to meet the following day.

July 13:

60 people including journalists, artists and film actors are arrested in the Midan district of Damascus, after security forces and regime thugs attack a demonstration of more than 300 prominent intellectuals.

July 12:

People take to the streets in many cities, including a 4,000 strong protest in Zabadani, demanding the release of prisoners on a day that was named “Tuesday for the freedom of detainees”. Local Coordination Committees estimate that there are currently 15,000 detainees of which 53 are being subjected to torture

July 11:

Demonstrators take to the streets in Damascus to protest against the “National Dialogue”. Pro-Assaad supporters attack the French and US embassies in the Syrian capital, which sparks international outrage and condemnation. US Secretary of State issues her most strongly worded condemnation of the Syrian government accusing it of inciting mobs to attack the embassies in order to deflect attention from the violent crackdown against protesters but stops short of demanding that Bashar al Assad must go.

July 10:

Opposition leaders boycott a "National Dialogue" conference on reform with Syria's ruling Ba'ath party, vowing not to meet the regime while protesters were still being killed in the streets.

July 8:

Thirteen civilians killed by security forces a day after the US ambassador Robert Ford visits Hama, where hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate.

July 7:

Famiilies flee Hama where 25 civilians are killed in three days by security forces.

July 5:

Hama residents erect barriers to stop tanks re-entering.

July 2:

Assad sacks the governor of Hama.

July 1:

Security forces kill at least 28 people as more than half a million people protest in Hama.

June 30:

Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters demonstrate in Syria's second city Aleppo.

July 28:

Syria's UK ambassador called in over protester intimidation claims

June 27:

More than 150 Syrian intellectuals and activists including prominent opposition figures meet in Damascus to discuss the current crisis and propose a way out of the violence. The Local Coordination Committee boycott.

June 26:

Syrian troops push towards the Lebanese border at Kseir.

June 24:

Syrian security forces shoot dead 18 protesters in Damascus, Homs and Kiswa. Western journalists return to Syria. Fall of Legitimacy Friday.




Protesters in Al Zabadani 24-6-2011

June 23:

The European Union targets three Iranians in fresh sanctions. More than 50 Damascus University students are recovering in hospital after a surprise night time attack by Shabiha thugs and secret service agents on their dormitories. At least one student died and at least five are critically injured after being attacked with machine guns, knives, sticks and Tasers. More

June 20:

Assad says dialogue could lead to a new constitution and even the end of his

June 19:

Opposition activists say they have set up a "National Council" against the Syrian regime.

June 18:

Tanks enter a village bordering Turkey, where 10,000 Syrians have sought refuge.

June 12:

Syrian troops seize Jisr al-Shughur and say they have found of a mass grave containing the mutilated bodies of 10 security agents. Regime continues to pour in military forces into the Idlib region. Video Video

June 10:

Regime forces bombard border town of Jisr al-Shughur. Government forces shoot escaping residents, ambulance men and soldiers who laid down their arms.

June 9:

Syria referred to UN Security Council over suspected nuclear programme

June 8:

Syrians fearful of reprisals pour out of Jisr al-Shughur, with hundreds seeking sanctuary in neighbouring Turkey. Video

June 6:

State television says 120 policemen were killed by "armed gangs" in Jisr al-Shughur. Activists speak of a mutiny at a local security headquarters.

June 5:

At least 40 people killed by security forces, mainly in the northwest town of Jisr al-Shughur.

June 3:

At least 65 civilians killed, including 60 in the Hama region.

May 31:

President Assad announces an amnesty for political prisoners.

May 28:

Syrian military pushes into the towns of al-Rastan and Talbiseh. Soldiers fired from machine guns and tanks as they spread out through Talbiseh and started breaking into homes and arresting people. Authorities cut all telecommunications in the area and all roads leading to the two towns are closed off by regime forces. Avaaz releases video of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb, showing his mutilated body riddled with bullets, his kneecaps, jaw, and neck broken and his genitals mutilated. Video

May 21:

40,000 people attend funerals in the city of Homs. Syrian security forces attack, killing 22 mourners and injuring dozens more.

May 20:

Syrian security forces kill as many as 76 in protests around the country.

May 19:

Syria condemns US sanctions on Assad, calling it "part of a regional scheme, aimed primarily at serving Israel's interests".

May 18:

US imposes sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad and six other Syrian officials, citing human rights abuses. Switzerland also announces new sanctions against Syria, including an embargo on military assets and equipment. Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvez released.

May 17:

At least 27 killed by Syria's army and security forces after a three day attack on the border town of Tel Kelakh. Mass graves holding 13 bodies are discovered near the city of Daraa. Daraa residents report hundreds of people missing since the uprising started.

May 10:

The European Union puts the names of 13 Syrian officials on an official sanctions list, including Maher al-Assad the brother of the president, excluding Bashar al-Assad.

May 9:

Syrian tanks roll into Homs as regime clamps down on 3G and web

May 6:

Thousands of Syrians rally on a "Day of Defiance." Deaths are reported in Homs and Hama. Opposition leader Riad Seif is arrested in the central Damascus district Midan.

May 5:

Tanks are deployed in Baniyas. Hillary Clinton warns of consequences if Syria does not end its "brutal crackdown".

May 4:

Tanks are deployed in the city of al-Rastan. Residents say security forces carry out house-to-house raids in Douma, arresting scores.

May 1:

Tanks fire shells into the heart of Daraa's ancient Roman quarter.

April 30:

The military crackdown in Daraa continues, with several deaths reported. Newly-appointed Prime Minister Adel Safar says government will draw up "complete plan" of political, judicial and economic reforms.

April 29:

The US decides to impose new sanctions on Syria's intelligence agency and two relatives of President Assad. Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz goes missing upon arrival at Damascus airport.

April 28:

The UN Security Council fails to agree on a draft statement condemning Syria's deadly crackdown on protesters. Around 1,000 Syrians cross the border into Lebanon, escaping regime violence in Tel Kalah.

April 27:

Syrian army sends more tanks and reinforcements into Deraa, besieging the city for a third day.

April 26:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for an international probe of the deaths. US and Britain announce possibility of imposing sanctions on Syria.

April 25:

Syrian troops backed by tanks and heavy armour storm Deraa and Douma, resulting in many deaths and dozens of arrests. Activists say 18 people were killed in Deraa alone. Video

April 23:

At least 75 people were reported to have been killed in Syria in the bloodiest day since the uprising began.

April 22:

Security forces reportedly shoot dead at least 80 people in largest protests to date.

April 21:

President Bashar al-Assad issues decrees ending a state of emergency in force since 1963. Opposition leaders say the concessions are not enough.

April 19:

The interior ministry passes a law that says citizens must obtain permission to demonstrate.

April 18:

The interior ministry issues a statement blaming "killing of policemen, army soldiers and civilians and terrifying people" on an "armed mutiny led by Salafi armed groups".

April 17:

Activists say at least 25 people are killed by security forces late at night in Homs and five others in the nearby town of Talbiseh.

April 15:

Thousands demonstrate in many different cities, in the most widespread protests so far.

April 14:

Adel Safar, a former agriculture minister, is named as prime minister in the new government.

April 8:

Security forces kill at least 27 demonstrators in Deraa amid fresh protests against Assad's rule, hospital sources and witnesses report.

April 7:

Assad issues a decree granting nationality to thousands of Kurds.

March 30:

Assad delivers a speech for the first time since the protests began. He blames foreign conspirators for the unrest but declines to elaborate on major reforms.

March 28:

Reports of 37 people killed since March 25 in protests in Damascus, Latakia, Deraa and elsewhere.

March 26:

In a bid to placate protesters, Assad frees 260 prisoners. Twelve people are killed in protests in the town of Latakia. Assad deploys the army there the next day.

March 23:

Syrian forces kill six people in an attack on protesters in the Omari mosque complex in Deraa, and later open fire on hundreds of youths marching in solidarity.

March 18:

Security forces kill three protesters in Daraa. The protest was triggered by the arrest of teenagers writing anti-government graffiti on walls.

March 15:

Dozens march in Damascus after a Facebook call for "Day of Dignity."

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