File - A Syrian refugee who refused to be identified for security reasons sits on a chair in the Bekaa Valley village of Kamed al Loz, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (The Daily Star/Samya Kullab)
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"Like this, they told us to sit like this," he says, simulating the position he was told to take by the officers on the first day of what would become a three-month-long incarceration at Saasaa Branch 221, an intelligence facility lying halfway between Damascus and Qunaitra.In 2011, he was one among many protesting the detention of several young students for writing anti-government slogans in Deraa. Detainees were not permitted to use the lavatories and many had no choice but to urinate on themselves, Amer says.Amer says those arrested nowadays are never heard from again. He fears his brother Khaled, an Army defector who was arrested a year ago, might be one of the 11,000 victims whose fates were publicized in last week's bombshell accusations. Majid remembers being taken to a spacious room with about 20 to 30 bodies hanging from the ceiling, a position similar to the one described by Amer.Ahmad, 16, was detained for 11 days over a month ago in the Damascus suburb of Moadamieh. Although his family was allowed to leave the besieged area, Ahmad and other young men were rounded up in the evacuation process by air force intelligence.
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