London: Up to 28,000 Syrians have disappeared since the beginning of the 19-month-old uprising to oust President Bashar-al Assad’s government, human rights groups have claimed.
Many of those abducted were almost certainly dead, while others were alive and being held in Syrian prisons or secret detention centres where they were tortured, the groups said.
According to the groups, since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, government forces have caused peaceful protesters to ‘disappeared’ on an unprecedented scale.
Some campaigners have estimated the number of those who have vanished to be as high as 80,000, the Guardian reports.
“Syrians are being plucked off the street by Syrian security forces and paramilitaries and being ``disappeared`` into torture cells. Whether it is women buying groceries or farmers going for fuel, nobody is safe,” said Alice Jay, director of global campaign network Avaaz,
According to the paper, Fadel Abdulghani, of the Syrian Network for Human Rights which has been monitoring the death toll in Syria since the protests began, said the group had collected 18,000 names of people who had disappeared.
It had information, but no names for 10,000 more cases, as the families had been too afraid to share them, it said.