The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that 496 people were arbitrarily detained across Syria in January, including 19 children and 41 women.
In a report released on Sunday, the Network said that the Assad regime is responsible for 87 percent of the total number of arrests. It indicated that arrests were also carried out by militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) the ISIS extremist group the purpose of forced recruitment.
The report pointed out that the issue of detainees remains the only issue which has seen little progress despite negotiations and announcements of cessation of hostilities. The rights group called for the inclusion of the issue on the agenda of the upcoming Geneva talks.
The Network called for an immediate end to arbitrary detention and the release of all detainees. It also called for the “unconditional release of all detainees who were detained solely for the exercise of their political and field rights.” It also called for the release of women and children and stopping using them as hostages of war.
The Network called on international observers from the investigation committee set up by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit all formal and informal detention centers without prior arrangement and without any conditions.
The Network also called for the formation of an international committee to monitor the release of detainees according to a timetable requested from all those holding them and mainly by the Assad regime which holds 87 percent of the detainees.
The Network said that more than 6,500 people were arbitrarily detained in Syria in 2017, including about 4,517 by the Assad regime.