Press Release

October 7, 2020

Families of Syria’s kidnapped call for all ISIS fighters to be questioned about the missing

Syrian families are demanding that former ISIS fighters be questioned about the whereabouts of their loved ones, as the US Justice department is expected to announce charges against two ISIS members today.

Thousands of Syrians are missing after having been kidnapped by ISIS but the US coalition to defeat ISIS and authorities in Northeast Syria have done virtually nothing to help families in their search for their loved ones.

While the trial of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two members of the notorious gang known as the “Beatles”, seeks justice for the murder of US citizens, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Syrian families say that they too have a right to justice for their loved ones.

Yasmin Mashaan, whose brother Bashar went missing in Raqqa in May 2014 said:

“I hope that American families might find some sort of comfort and relief in getting justice for their lost loved ones. The emotional loss they have suffered is no different from the pain we are going through. As families who still don’t have answers about our loved ones who were kidnapped.

“Finding our loved ones is reliant on information from former ISIS fighters who are being held by the Iraqi Government and Syrian Democratic Forces. Today, we ask them and the US coalition to help by interrogating the captured fighters and taking serious steps to take them to trial.”

Ensaf Nasr of Families for Freedom, whose husband was kidnapped by ISIS from a maternity centre in Deir Ezzor in 2014, said:

“We are calling for international support for trials of ISIS fighters in northeast Syria. Monitors, media and family members should be able to attend the procedures. Nothing should be hidden and justice should be done.”

Maisa Saleh, whose sister was snatched by ISIS in August 2013, said:

“The US trials are an opportunity to discover any information about the prisons, the transfer of the kidnapped, mass graves and their fate. Our eyes are on these trials hoping they will expose any detail related to our loved ones. We also ask the US government to interrogate the fighters who are captured by the SDF in the northeast. These fighters are banks of information that could be providing us with leads about our loved ones.”

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New campaign reveals mass graves continue to be discovered in northeast Syria, 10 September 2020

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The Syria Campaign is a human rights organisation that supports Syria’s heroes in their struggle for freedom and democracy.

Rooted in human rights we combine the best elements of creative communication, digital mobilisation, storytelling and political analysis to support the demands of some of the most courageous frontline humanitarians in the world.

About SJAC

The Syria Justice and Accountability Cenatre (SJAC) strives to prevent impunity, promote redress and facilitate principled reform. SJAC works to ensure that human rights violations in Syria are comprehensively documented and preserved for use in transitional justice and peace-building. SJAC collects documentation of violations from all available sources, stories it in a secure database, catalogues it according to human rights standards, and analyzes it using legal expertise and big data methodologies. SJAC also supports documenters inside Syria, providing them with resources and technical guidance, and coordinates with other actors working toward similar aims: a Syria defined by justice, respect for human rights, and rule of law.