A testimony of a woman from Deir Ezzor on the treatment of armed factions in the northern Syria against the IDPs of Deir Ezzor
Thousands of civilians fled the province of Deir Ezzor towards the northern Syria due to the aerial bombardment on their areas by the government forces, their allies, and the US-led coalition.
Idleb countryside, especially Salqeen, Sarmada, Harem, Kafr Darian, and the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo are main destinations for the IDPs of Deir Ezzor since they are safer and there are hundreds of families of Deir Ezzor who previously reached these areas, additionally, they are easily accessible without forcing the IDPs to enter camps like what happened to families to headed towards the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) held areas.
Some male and female IDPs in the northern Syria suffered from restrictions by number of armed factions such as detention and torture by the charge of being affiliated to “Islamic State” group. These charges were not based on actual evidences, whereas the armed factions released “Islamic State” militants for money.
Justice for Life organization interviewed Mrs. Um Natheer (pseudonym) who is a lady from Muhassan town, in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, and she talks about her detention with her husband by one of the armed factions. She also talks about the torture her husband received and how did he died few days after they were released.
Leaving Deir Ezzor:
Um Natheer talks about leaving Deir Ezzor “I left with my husband and children from Muhassan town, which was under rule of ISIS for about one year, towards Al Kubar village in the north of Euphrates river. The destination was to cross into Turkey and find a job their due to our bad financial status. We paid all what we had, however, ISIS militants caught us and did not allow us to continue, so we went back to the town”.
Um Natheer tried one more time throughout another smuggler. She could reach SDF held areas as she paid a sum of money to be allowed to continue her journey towards the northern Syria and not to force her to enter the IDPs camps.
Reaching the Checkpoints of the Armed Factions:
Um Natheer and her family reached Manbij throughout another smuggler, then she continued towards the armed factions held areas. She says “Al Awn checkpoint is run by Al Shimal brigade militants where we stopped and the militants started searching us. They accused me to be affiliated to ISIS since I wear Niqab. They did not believe that I am wearing Niqab before ISIS entered Deir Ezzor. They started questioning my husband and accusing him to be an ISIS member. They starting beating him aggressively and humiliating him in front of everyone. They took us to one of their headquarters”.
Detention of Um Natheer and Her Husband:
The militants moved Um Natheer and her family to one of their headquarters. The witness says “ After on day without eating or drinking, they moved my husband to another place, then they brought him back after two days. He was unable to walk due to torture. They forced us to pay $500 to be allowed to exit along with confiscating our cell phones”.
Death of Um Natheer’s Husband:
Following releasing Um Natheer and her family, her husband was in dire status. The witness tell JFL “ I hospitalized my husband to Idleb hospital. He was in dire physical and psychological status because of harsh torture. He was beaten on his head and with sharp tools on his body. We remained in the hospital for one week. On our way to Salqeen, where we intended to continue towards Turkey, my husband passed away”.
“I went to a Mosque cleric to help me to bury my husband. Then, I went back to a village in Deir Ezzor countryside since I became unable to cross into Turkey or make living for my family after the death of our breadwinner”.
Um Natheers accuses the armed faction for the death of her husband due to aggressive torture.