Tortured in Assad's dungeons, El Hirre: My soul still lives in captivity

Nur El-Hirre, from Aleppo, who was arrested together with her sister and brutally tortured by Assad regime in Syria, said: "I am still living in dungeon life. My body may be liberated, but my soul still lives in captivity."

Speaking to ILKHA's correspondent, Nur El Hirre, 32, from Aleppo, said her sister and she were taken under custody by Assad's forces in 2012 and subjected to brutal torture and insults.

Expressing that her sister and she were first arrested during a demonstration on June 23, 2012, El Hirre said they were released after 7 days in custody but then arrested against.

El-Hirre said that her sister participated in the activities of Aleppo hospital and worked in the aid offices, by the way, she was helping her sister while she was a final year undergraduate student at the university.

Saying that there were problems between the regions under control of oppositions and Assad regime forces in Aleppo, El-Hirre noted that her sister was living in the region under control of oppositions while she was living in the region under control of Assad's forces because of her university.

"We were communicating with code names. My sister came to Aleppo for the exam. At the entrance of the campus, the police stopped us and took our identities. First, they arrested my sister and then me. We did not know why we were arrested for. We were taken to the room of police branch chief," she said.

"Police branch chief came close to my sister and slapped her. My sister was knocked down. He told the cops to take us down. They [guards] beat us down. We were taken to solitary cells. They said, "take off your belt and all your personal belongings." I was so worried about my sister. She was six years younger than me, and I was looking after her like she was my daughter."

Saying that she asked cops to put her sister next to her, in her cell, El Hirre said: "Because I was worrying for her. I was hearing girls screaming. The cells were within 2 meters of each other. An hour later, they asked me to come out they put me in. When I got out, they tied my eyes with a cloth and handcuffed my hands. I could sight the ground. When I looked down, they were all bloody. I found my sister laying on the ground in the blood. She asked me for help because she couldn't walk and she was crying."

"I was unconsciously sleeping for 12 days"

Stating that she was taken to the interrogation room and questioned about her sister, who fled to Turkiye, El Hirre went on saying: We will not release you until your sister surrender. They had a multi-headed whip attached to the chain. There were nails and cutting materials tied to the heads of this whip. They were lashing me with that one. I knocked to the ground at the first hit."

"A big guy came up and tied me head down. Then I was tortured for hours like that. I was unconsciously sleeping for 12 days after the tortures. They took me to the Central Hospital. When they brought me back, my sister screamed out of her room and said, "Are you okay? Tell me you are okay' she was asking. I was trying to get in touch with her and make sure she is fine when I went to the bathroom. Honestly, he was more persevering than I was."

They killed the child of the pregnant woman

El Hirre, who stated that what affected her most during the torture was her sister's screams, described the torture to a pregnant woman: "One day they brought a 6-month pregnant woman. She had become pregnant after a long wait of 9 years. The doctor had said she needed to rest. 'Do not kill my child,' she was screaming. What was the sin of that child?"

"When I met my sister, neither she nor I recognized her"

El Hirre said that she was held in a cell separate from his sister for 3 months. "92 days later, when I met my sister, neither she recognized me nor I recognized her. Because I was like a paralyzed person. I could not move. I had lost my hearing. I lost the sight of my eyes due to infection. I had to live 3 days with that infection. I turned into a bone-free flesh."

Saying that prisoners, who had kept more than 60 days were taking to executions, El Hirre said: "We were kept there over 80 days. Every day we heard screams, tortures, abusive and insulting words."

"We were afraid of being raped"

El Hirre stated that they were taken to Damascus many times with her hands in handcuffs. "When we were taken to the bus, I asked them where we were taken. They told me, "We're taking you to death." We knew who was taken to Damascus it was for execution. We were afraid of being raped in Damascus."

When we arrived in Damascus, a huge person came to the door of the vehicle and said, 'Wow! Have you brought us sweet girls? We liked them very much,' he said. I have lost all of my hope. I asked Allah to be killed (instead of being raped)."

"I said goodbye to my old-aged mother and Syria."

El Hirre, who was released after the detention and torture, said, "They released us at 22.00 at night. They left us in a place where there was no one. All the shops were closed. We were in the town of Kafar Susa near Damascus. After a search, I found a phone and phoned my family. I couldn’t reach them. So I phoned my aunt's daughter in Dubai. She immediately contacted my mother and informed her about us. They picked up us that night and took us to a safe place. The next day, we went to Aleppo. After a week in Aleppo, I said goodbye to my old-aged mother and Syria and fled to Turkiye." (ILKHA)

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