Cases of forced disappearance in Syria started when late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad started to face opposition from citizens in the late 1970s. While he was able to buy elite merchants of Damascus through Badr el-Deen Shallah, the general public was outraged by Assad’s policies in ruling the country and the rise of corruption. From then on, any voice opposing or questioning the Syrian government was silenced by forced disappearance or threats. According to Human Rights Watch, no fewer than 17,000 people disappeared during Assad’s 30-year rule.
Bashar al-Assad took his father’s policy further and considered any voice questioning anything about Syria’s political, economical, social, or otherwise policies should be monitored and when needed, detained and accused of weakening national empathy.
Often forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is abducted, illegally detained and often tortured during interrogation; killed, and the body hidden. The party committing the murder has deniability, as nobody provides evidence of the victim’s death.
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