Press statement

The Syrian Center For Media and Freedom of Expression received reports published by the state’s Syrian media (SANA News Agency) and the Russian news agency (Russia Today) that members of the Syrian government forces found a mass grave in the “Aleb” area in Duma, in Damascus Countryside, which contains the remains of 70 victims including the corpse of a female with her hands cuffed to the back of her body.
These reports led to a set of inaccurate news that this body belonged to the Syrian human rights activist and colleague of the Center, lawyer Razan Zaitouneh.

Furthermore, some media outlets are circulating news of the investigation process with “Islam Alloush” who was arrested by the French authorities a short time ago on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and for his involvement in the kidnapping of human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh, her husband, the political activist Wael al-Hamada and their colleague, lawyer and poet Nazem Hammadi in addition to the political activist, Samira al-Khalil.
Hereby this report, we confirm that the news reported about the course of this investigation and its developments is incorrect, and that the accurate news about the investigation and the developments of the case is issued either by the French authorities, or the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression and the French institutions concerned and involved in the case against Islam Alloush.

From our side, we insist and ask all activists on social media “Facebook and Twitter” and media institutions and networks not to transmit inaccurate news that has not been verified or authenticated. We also ask of you to take into account the feelings of the families, friends and loved ones of the people involved, and to work with the professional norms of journalism, which the most important of is “accuracy”.

Please note that we at the Center have started to communicate and are in direct contact with relevant international institutions and bodies, such as (the International Committee of Red Cross) to clarify the fate of each of these bodies, where the verification of dead bodies’ identity in such cases requires accurate medical tests and analyses (DNA) and it is difficult to confirm the identity of persons before performing these tests.

Accordingly, the center will issue an official statement if any accurate information is received, and upon verification, about the fate of every Syrian victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred and is still occurring in Syria.