Syrian Security Forces have subjugated Syrian nationals who have returned to their homeland after seeking asylum abroad for arrest, disappearance, and torture, including sexual assault.
A series of horrific violations were documented by Syrian intelligence officers against 66 returnees, including 13 children. These cases included 5 people who died during their detention, while 17 have been forcibly disappeared till now.
14 cases of sexual violence committed by the security forces were documented, including 7 cases of rape of 5 women, a teenager, and a five-year-old girl.
The girl’s mother stated that she and her daughter were raped by an officer in a small room designated for interrogation on the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian border, and quoted the officer as saying to her, “Syria is not a hotel that you can leave and return to whenever you want.”
Among the accusations leveled at the returnees, according to some refugees, is “treason or support for terrorism.”
In some cases, returnees were targeted simply because they had previously been in areas under the control of the opposition factions.
Mary Frosty, the researcher on the rights of refugees and migrants, said: “The mere fleeing from Syria has become a sufficient reason for the regime to commit violations against the returnees.”
In our organisation, we urge the international community and European governments, in particular, to grant refugee status to people who have left Syria, and to immediately stop any direct or indirect actions that force them to return to Syria.