Human Rights Watch has accused the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group of using “torture” against those opposing its rule in Syria’s militant-held northwestern province of Idlib.
The New York-based rights group said on Monday that it had documented 11 cases in which HTS, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits, largely composed of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, “detained Idlib residents, apparently because of their peaceful work documenting abuses or protesting the group's rule.”
“Six of those detained were apparently tortured,” including a 16-year-old boy, it said in a statement.
“One man described being hung from a pole upside down for hours during interrogation,” it added.
Another detainee said he was locked up in something similar to a coffin for three hours, while a third said he was pushed through a tire and beaten incessantly.
“The maximum you can do is to move your shoulders a bit. And scream for help. But on several occasions, they stuffed things in my mouth so I can't scream. I used to lose my consciousness a lot,” the captive told HRW.
Seven of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they were media activists or journalists, who had taken part in or covered protest rallies against HTS, or were working with foreign media outlets.