Almost 3,000 people have gone missing in Syria since the start of anti-regime protests more than four months ago, the Avaaz non-governmental organization said in a statement on Thursday.Others put the death toll at closer to 2,000.
"Avaaz has today revealed the identities of 2,918 Syrians who have been arrested by Syrian security forces and whose whereabouts are now unknown," the organization said in statement received by AFP in Nicosia.
It said it was launching a campaign Thursday "to call for the release of the nearly 3,000 Syrians who have been forcibly 'disappeared' since the peaceful uprising began on March 15th of this year."
"The in-depth survey conducted by Avaaz estimates that one person is disappearing every hour.”
"In the past week alone there have been more than 1,000 arrests and the number of enforced disappearances has been rapidly rising on a daily basis, as the regime steps up its efforts to repress dissent in the build-up to Ramadan," the statement said.
According to the organization’s executive director, Ricken Patel, "hour by hour, peaceful protesters are plucked from crowds by Syria's infamously brutal security forces, never to be seen again."
Avaaz said 1,634 people have died in the crackdown, 26,000 have been arrested, of whom 12,617 are still in detention.
Things might get more heated during Ramadan, which starts next week. From Bloomberg:
Activists, analysts and Syrian refugees say the uprising is set to intensify during the Muslim holy month. Opposition groups plan to shift from weekly rallies to nightly ones, held after the tarawih, an additional nighttime prayer recited during Ramadan, said Bashar Afandi and Mohammed al-Klesse, who fled Assad’s crackdown on northern Syria and are staying in Turkish camps.
“The mosques will play a pivotal role and every night, when people gather to pray, will resemble what we have seen after every Friday prayers,” said Mahmoud Merhi, of the Arab Organization for Human Rights. A surge in arrests in the past two weeks is probably aimed at heading off the momentum that Ramadan may give to protesters, he said by phone from Damascus.