This is a testimony of one of the newly released detainees in Banyas. We tell it exactly as we heard it:
After the security forces and the Shabiha (regime’s armed thugs) stormed the town “Al-Marqab”, and during their raid on houses, I ran to the forest and I hid between the bushes as many of the the people who were horrified by the sound of shootings did. The thugs, however, swept the forest in large numbers and started shooting randomly. They used heavy and light artillery. They shot even the animals they saw in this mountain land.
They were shooting live ammo on unarmed people who were running away and hiding in the forest. I decided that the safest thing to do is to go and surrender before they shoot me as well.
Of course, I left my hiding place and surrendered to them. Two soldiers stole away my cell phone and the cash money I had. Obviously, that was accompanied by severe insults and cursing my honor. Afterwards, they told me to lie down on the floor and they shot me in my right thigh with a bullet that penetrated the bone, and with another bullet in my left thigh. Then they left me bleeding profusely in my place that is remote and uninhabited.
It is a blessing that a few of the residents and children that fled like me are treated at the Charitable Association Hospital. Of course this is a non-governmental hospital where I stayed for two days until security agents arrived and arrested me while I was in a critical condition along with other wounded people. They closed down this hospital that was the only safe hospital where the wounded can get treatment. They took me along with other wounded people to the stadium and I stayed for 24 hours where I received no medical care for my critical injuries.
I was exposed to beating and humiliation the same way like other detained people. After my medical condition worsened I was transported to the National Hospital in Banyas. I was not treated as a patient but as a prisoner in one of Hitler’s nazi prisons. I was blindfolded the entire time and there were no angels of mercy (nurses) at the hospital except for the angels of punishment that increased my suffering and pain. One of the nurses, for example, put a pen on the spot of my wound and moved the pen to increase my paid. They would also press on my wounds to increase my paid (I don’t know if this was part of the treatment). The “angels of punishment also brought children and teenagers who beat me and humiliated me while asking me who I am. My answer was that I am the traitor.
I remained in this situation for 2 days and then they transported me to Al Bassel hospital in Tartous, where I was treated, I can’t say as a patient, but still much better than how the doctors and nurses at the national hospital in Banyas treated me. I stayed there for 8 days, then I was taken to the military intelligence in Tartous, blindfolded and hands tied down behind my back with a plastic band that was eating off my flesh. There I was interrogated brutally, they didn’t consider my wounds or bring me a medicine despite me begging them. After that, we were carried like cattle, around 100 detainees in a bus that was originally designed for a maximum of 50 passengers, and we were taken to the military intelligence headquarters in Damascus. Throughout the whole trip, we were beaten, insulted and humiliated, all while still shackled and blindfolded. When we arrived, further interrogation and psychological as well as physical torture awaited us. At last we were taken to the military police headquarters in Qaboun, then to the Baloni prison in Homs, and then we were released.
I’ve seen some young activists, renowned for their honesty, being more monstrously tortured than the others. 2 of those were tied down, and had something like a cage on their heads, and were stood up in a hall where all the other detainees as well as staff walking by were forced to beat and kick them.