Syrian regime storms Hama prison after rebellion

Syrian regime storms Hama prison after rebellion
Syrian regime security forces have stormed Hama jail after detainees rebelled against prison guards on Monday, but prisoners say they are still resisting the authorities.
2 min read
03 May, 2016
Prisoners rioted to prevent the probable execution of five fellow inmates [Anadolu]
Syrian regime forces stormed a Hama prison after detainees took control of the facility.

Detainees rebelled against prison authorities after the transfer of five political prisoners – who were held on death row – from the Hama jail to an "unknown location".

"The problem started on Sunday, when the prison authorities transferred five political prisoners to Sidnaya military prison in Damascus," Director of the Media Centre in Hama, Yazan Shadawi told The New Arab.

The prison guards responded with force and there were reports of a fire at the jail.

"Regime forces threw tear gas among crowds of protesters which led to several cases of suffocated and the guards closed the doors," a source from the prison told The New Arab.

He said that detainees feared a massacre would take place if regime re-established control over the prison.

The Hama Media Centre said that regime forces stormed the sections of the jail containing political prisoners.

More than 27 tear gas grenades were fired, but regime forces failed to take control of the prison and prisoners are refusing to give up their demands which include the release of 200 prisoners. 

The regime refused and said that only 25 prisoners will be released.  

Despite reports that the regime have taken control of the prison, detainees remain in control of most of the facility. 

Rebel group Anjad al-Sham vowed to target militias allied to the regime in surrounding areas until the regime siege on the prison stops. 

"We announce our readiness to hit allied militias in Mharda and al-Suqaylabiyah until the end of the siege and until all our prisoners brothers’ requests are answered, and the suffering of our detainees brothers is eased," said the group in a statement printed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

International organisations intervened in the dispute with the International Red Cross demanding that the prisoners be put on trial at the very least, or transferred to opposition areas.

Last summer 1,200 prisoners from the institution staged a sit-in protest against the brutal conditions in the prison.

Consequently, the regime changed the director of the prison and returned some prisoners from solidarity confinement to the general population.

Syrian prisons have a notorious reputation with torture, starvation and overcrowding routine.

Most detainees are also political prisoners with protests against the regime starting five years ago seeing a wave of arrests against activists and those suspected of opposing the regime.