Statement by the Violation Documentation Center (VDC)

A statement by the Violation Documentation Center (VDC) and the Local Development and Small Projects Support Office (LDSPS) regarding the kidnapping of activists Razan Zeitouneh, Samira Khalil, Wael Hamada and Nazim Hamadi.



Samira Khalil

 An unknown armed group kidnapped last night 9/10/2013, human rights lawyer and activist Razan Zeitouneh, activist and ex-political prisoner Samira Khalil, activist and Razan’s spouse Wael Hamada, and the lawyer and poet Nazim Hamadi from the office of the VDC and LDSPS in Douma, Damascus suburbs.

Besides being an icon of the Syrian revolution, Razan cofounded the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC) and the Violation Documentation Center (VDC), which documents all human rights violations in Syria. She co-founded the local development and small projects support office (LDSPS) as well which aims to help the people in Syria generally, and in Eastern Ghouta more specifically, to provide basic needs and essential services and support to medical and development centers. Her and her colleagues work is very well recognized by the inhabitants in Ghouta.


Nazem Hammadi

Her kidnapping and the kidnapping of her colleagues indicates yet again the endeavor of some to undermine any form of civil action to help Syrians in the liberated areas to rule and provide for themselves.

 We, at the VDC and LDSPS, condemn with the strongest words this kidnapping and ask for the immediate release of Razan, Samira, Wael and Nazim without any conditions.

ImageWe also hold all armed groups operating in the area accountable for the safety and safeguard of the Ghouta inhabitants and Razan and her colleagues. We hold them accountable as well for the safe release of Razan and her colleagues and their safe return to their homes. Such armed groups should ensure that such kidnapping in never repeated again in the future in the area they control.

The Dignity and Freedom revolution is undergoing one of its most critical moments now and we hope that it will be able to avoid this trap set from its enemies to undermine its credibility and stray its path.


Wael Hamadeh


Violation Documentation Center in Syria

Abu Qusay: Portrait of a Fighter – Yassin Haj Saleh – The Republic

Abu Qusay: Portrait of a Fighter – Yassin Haj Saleh – The Republic

Abu Qusay used to work as a tailor and a carpenter in his hometown of al-Ghizlaniya before the start of the revolution. When the tailoring business was slow, the heavy-set, burly 33-year-old would occupy himself with carpentry, and vice versa. Abu Qusay earned between 15,000 and 20,000 Syrian pounds on average per month. This was his family’s only source of income and it was barely enough money for a family with 4 young children, but as Abu Qusay would say “God will provide”.

To Leave or not to Leave, Seems to be the Question

My third article published for Arab World in Revolutions blog:

anonymous graffiti in Syria that says: “A country is not a hotel to be abandoned when the service gets bad – we will persevere.”

“The battle has reached to a bone-breaking stage; who will fall apart first?” Martyr Bassel Shehada.

The biggest talk now on the streets in Syria is that everyone is leaving, families, business people, and most importantly, activists. This problem has reached to a point where many in Syria are getting angry at their friends who left or considering leaving the revolution at this difficult stage, some even consider such a thought of leaving as betrayal to Syria.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, those who are leaving Syria are either well-connected or come from well-off families. Syrian economy is deteriorating, so if you can buy a ticket and spend money in some other country, it really means nowadays that you’re rich enough to do so,” said Somayya whose friends are leaving one after another, escaping regime detention campaigns.

“The regime is deliberately pushing the youth to leave, some activists’ names were on the wanted lists on the borders but now they’re not. The regime is leaking lists of thousands of wanted activists so they’ll get scared and think of escaping. It’s precisely because the regime wants us to leave that I believe we should stay. I think our mere staying in itself is resistance,” Sumayya affirms quietly: “to leave is to be defeated.”

Read the rest of it here.

How Peaceful Revolutionaries Turned into Relief Activists in Damascus

My second article for Arab Revolutions blog is now up!

A group of Syrians fleeing violence in their country, walk towards the Turkish border, near Reyhanli. (AP)

“With the start of a new academic year the regime has been emptying the schools from forced migrants. Where will those migrants who lost their homes go after regime shelled their cities and neighborhoods? You constantly feel helpless before these events.

There are families in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, living on 20USD a month, 20USD! Assad speaks of concessions, fine, these are Syrian citizens who are now homeless, isn’t this the state’s responsibility? The Syrian government has resigned all its responsibilities towards its citizens. Instead, the government is waging war against them.”

Ruba*, a relief NGO employee in Syria, explains how the urgency of the growing tragedy of forced migrants has forced many peaceful revolutionaries to work as relief activists:

“The regime is purposely creating a humanitarian crisis and forcing activists to deal with it.”

“We, the middle class, flourished during Assad’s era. We enjoyed new services, and we knew that our economic situation has gotten better, but only at the expense of the working class. The very people who are now leading the revolution are the ones who were neglected by the state. They lost their jobs and homes are scattered in gardens and schools depending on our aid: middle class aid. Our role in this revolution is completely different from theirs, we have privileges and a lot to lose; they don’t. We’re bunch of hypocrites.” Ruba leans her head back against the sofa and stares as water drops from the air-conditioning on her living room floor.

Read rest of the article here. Check the French translation of the article available here  and German translation here.

LCC: New FSA Battalions Sign the Code of Conduct

LCC initiates FSA Code of Conduct, which many great battalions signed in the past few days:

In light of recent events in Syria. FSA commanders got together and signed the new FSA code of conduct.

The document was initially published by the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs) and underlines the requirement to respect human rights and international humanitarian law including laws pertaining to the treatment of prisoners of war.

Code of Conduct of the Free Syrian Army

Article I
In the Free Syrian Army, as an independent, defected soldier, or civilian volunteer, my first responsibilities are to:
Defend Syrian revolutionaries in the face of tyranny and ensure the continuation of the revolution to oust the regime. I will direct my weapons exclusively against Assad aggressors. I will serve my nation, Syria, and the freedom of the Syrian people. I am a fighter in the battle to defend my people.
I will use my weapons to overthrow the criminal regime that has been imposed upon us.

Article II
I pledge to my people and my revolution that I will refrain from any behavior or practice that would undermine the principles of our revolution: the principles of freedom, citizenship, and dignity. I will respect human rights in accordance with our legal principles, our tolerant religious principles, and the international laws governing human rights – the very human rights for which we struggle today and which we intend to implement in the future Syria.

Article III
Any person who takes up arms in the name of the regime, regardless of their rank, should be arrested and remain in the custody of the Free Syrian Army.
In the event that an individual is arrested, and it is determined that the individual was working for the regime, voluntarily or for payment, to supply information about revolutionary activists, that individual shall be considered a prisoner and treated in accordance with laws governing prisoners of war.

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