NO MORE SUFFERING IN SILENCE: Syrian women will sing Big Ben’s missing bongs to remember loved ones ‘disappeared’ by Assad regime

An estimated 200,000 have been jailed or disappeared by the Assad regime since 2011

By Felix Allen

FAMILIES of Syrians jailed or “disappeared” in Syria are to sing the missing bongs of Big Ben to highlight their suffering.

Parliament’s famous bell will miss more than 200,000 chimes after it was silenced for repairs – the same number of people estimated to be detained by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The dictator has tortured and hanged more than 13,000 political prisoners in four years, according to campaign group Amnesty International. Many others died from starvation and disease in the barbaric Sedenya military jail.

This week relatives of some victims are in London where they will stage a protest in Parliament Square on Wednesday.

The Families for Freedom group will sing Big Ben’s missing chimes from the roof of a London bus decorated with the pictures of some of those imprisoned in Syria.

The women include university graduate Bayan Shurbaji, whose two brothers were arrested during peaceful protests in 2011 and have not been seen since.

 Former schoolteacher Amina Khoulani, 42, was detained for several months herself along with her husband, and three of her brothers are missing after being locked up at Sednaya.

A fourth brother was released after being brutally tortured.

Fadwa Mahmoud’s son Maher Tahan, 34, and her partner Abdulaziz Al Kheir, 66, were forcibly disappeared after leaving Damascus airport in September 2012.

Lawyer Noura Ghazi Al Safadi was married inside one of Assad’s prisons after her fiance Bassel Khartabil was detained a month before their wedding in March 2012. Two months ago she learned he had been executed. 

They are highlighting the “forgotten” abuse as a poll this week reveals millions of Brits wrongly believe ISIS have killed, tortured and imprisoned more people than the government forces.

In fact Assad is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of the estimated 500,000 dead and missing in the brutal six-year civil war.

The former captain of the Syrian national football team is among those feared to have been tortured to death after he vanished in Homs three years ago.

In 2014, gruesome photos smuggled out on memory sticks showed the corpses of 11,000 prisoners electrocuted and strangled by Assad’s henchmen.

War crimes prosecutors said it proved “industrial scale killing” by the regime.


Bayan Shurbaji fled Syria after her two brothers were detained by the Assad regime in 2011.
photo: Families for Freedom
Lawyer Noura Ghazi Al Safadi's husband was executed after being held for five years.
photo: Families for Freedom
Former schoolteacher Amina Khoulani was locked up for months herself and three of her brothers are missing.
photo: Families for Freedom
Fadwa Mahmoud's son and partner were forcibly disappeared in Damascus in 2012.
photo: Families for Freedom
The giant bell Big Ben has been silenced as workmen begin four years of repairs on the famous clock tower at the Houses of Parliament.
photo: AFP
This aerial image shows the Syrian jail where Bashar al-Assad has been accused of hanging 13,000 prisoners over five years.
photo: AFP


The giant bell Big Ben has been silenced as workmen begin four years of repairs on the famous clock tower at the Houses of Parliament

Campaigners will sing the missing bongs to highlight the 200,000 disappeared in Syria

Earlier this year chilling aerial photos of the hellhole Sedenya jail showed the “human slaughterhouse” where 13,000 victims were killed by security forces in a “calculated campaign of mass hangings and extermination”.

Amnesty said at least once a week for four years, 50 at a time were given two-minute trials before being blindfolded, beaten and hanged in the basement.

Guards also forced prisoners to rape other inmates as part of widespread torture in the jail where an average of ten died each day, the human rights group alleged.

Amnesty said: “Saydnaya Military Prison is where the Syrian state quietly slaughters its own people.

“The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.

“Since 2011, thousands of people have been executed in mass hangings, carried out at night and in the utmost secrecy.”

This aerial image shows the Syrian jail where Bashar al-Assad has been accused of hanging 13,000 prisoners over five years

The total number of men women and children held prisoner or forcibly “disappeared” by Assad’s thugs and armed opposition groups over the past six years is around 200,000, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Amnesty has called it “a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population”.

The Parliament Square protest comes as scaffolding went up around the Elizabeth Tower at the start of four years of maintenance which meant the giant bell inside had to be silenced last month.


Source: The Sun