On November 25, Syrian activists leaked two videos exposing a heinous torture dungeon of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria] in Syria’s Haram. The dungeon is reportedly located inside the historical citadel of the northern city.
One of the video shows an alleged militant of HTS using a thick rubber baton to repeatedly hit a man who is tied with chains and metal wires to an examination chair. The victim can be heard trying to scream through a black bag covering his head.
In the second video a blooded, blindfolded, middle-aged man can be seen begging for his life. Activists said that the militants had cut some of the man’s figures earlier.
HTS has not commented on the leaked videos so far. This indicates that the videos are likely authentic because the group has never acknowledged or even denied its crimes.
The radical group has been accused of violating human rights on numerous occasions. Few months ago, HTS’ security forces arrested hundreds of civilians in the governorate of Idlib simply for voicing their support for a possible reconciliation agreement with the Damascus government.
HTS also adopted a more aggressive policy towards opposition activists and Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements recently. Two days ago, the radical group was accused of assassinating Read Fares, a prominent opposition figure who had managed several news outlets since 2011.
Local observers believe that the torture dungeon in Haram is only an example of what HTS is doing in bigger security centers like the al-Uqab jail in the southern Idlib countryside, where the most violent torture and murders are reportedly taking place.