Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent

On the 12th day he wrote a confession.

“Make it convincing,” a Capt. Maher advised him. “There is someone who drove you. Imagine how he looks. Tall, short, fat?”

Mr. Ghabbash settled on a silver automotive and “a tall guy, with glasses and light hair.”

“I started to feel my talent in writing,” he mentioned.

In March 2012, Mr. Ghabbash was flown to Mezze army air base, named for a well-off Damascus neighborhood close by.

By then, he and quite a few survivors mentioned, there was an industrial-scale transportation system amongst prisons. Detainees had been tortured on every leg of their journeys, in helicopters, buses, cargo planes. Some recalled driving for hours in vans usually used for animal carcasses, hanging by one arm, chained to meat hooks. Mr. Ghabbash’s new cell was typical: 12 toes lengthy, 9 toes vast, often packed so tightly that prisoners needed to sleep in shifts.

Outside the cell, a person was blindfolded and handcuffed within the hall. It was Mr. Darwish, the human rights lawyer. He had been singled out for lecturing a decide on Syrian legal guidelines guaranteeing truthful trials.

He later ticked off his punishment: “Naked, no water, no sleep, forced to drink my pee.”

Prison torture grew extra brutal and baroque as rebels exterior made advances and authorities warplanes bombed restive neighborhoods. Survivors describe sadistic remedy, rape, abstract executions or detainees left to die of untreated wounds and sicknesses.

Mr. Ghabbash quickly bought his personal particular punishment. He was interrogated by a person calling himself Suhail Hassan — presumably Suhail Hassan Zamam, who headed Air Force prisons, based on a leaked authorities database — who requested how Mr. Ghabbash would clear up the battle.

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