An American report released earlier this week on the "enforced disappearances" that took place in Syria during the era of former President Hafez Assad, indicates their number reached 17,000. The British journalist Robert Fisk, in an article published Thursday in the Independent newspaper, cites this controversial report titled "Ghosts from the past: 30 years of fear, in Syria."
At the start of his artcile, the British writer speaks about Tadmor (Palmyra), a ruined city located east of Damascus, which was the home of one of the most brutal prisons, which the Syrian regime used to terrorize its inmates. In this site, according to the report, some 1,000 Islamist prisoners were massacred under the order of the president's brother, Rifaat Assad, after a failed attempt to assassinate Hafez Assad.
According to Fisk, the report published in Washington this week by the Transitional Justice Project in the Arab world, sponsored by Freedom House. It claims that 17 thousand Syrians have disappeared during the rule of Hafez Assad. This 117-page report contains, accounts regarding disappearances and illegal executions.
Despite the seriousness of the information contained in the report, there are some doubts over its credibility. First the organization which issued the report claimed in its latest report that Israel is the only free society in Middle East. In addition, almost 70% of the information in this report is obtained from the U.S. government.
Fisk also points out that the report contains some obvious errors. "Some men were declared dead – and then reappeared alive," Fisk wrote.