DAMASCUS (Press TV) – A foreign-backed terror group in Syria, and not the Syrian government, was behind the killing of the female rights activist Razan Zaitouneh and her companions in 2013, a report has revealed.
Zaitouneh, a Syrian human rights lawyer and civil society activist, along with her husband, Wael Hammadeh, and two of their friends and colleagues, were mysteriously abducted in the office of Violations Documentation Center, which she had founded to document atrocities by terrorists and armed groups, in Douma, a militant-held town on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
There has been no sign of life and no proof of death for the ill-fated activists since their disappearance.
Zaitouneh’s fate has been one of the longest-running mysteries of the conflict in Syria. She was 36 at the time of the abduction.
At the time of Zaitouneh’s disappearance, Douma, which is located in the Eastern Ghouta enclave, was hotly contested by the Daesh terrorist group, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, so-called Jaish al-Islam, among other militant outfits.
Jaish al-Islam, which is influenced by Wahhabism, is one of several Takfiri terrorist groups operating in Syria.
Germany’s international news channel Deutsche Welle (DW) recently issued a report which proved beyond doubt that Zaitouneh and fellows were kidnapped and killed by the terrorist group. Indications had already suggested this scenario to be the case.
The investigative report by DW is based on evidence gathered from six countries and interviews with dozens of witnesses with intimate knowledge of the case. It tracked down the nefarious terror group.
In 2011, Zaitouneh was co-recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In the summer of 2013, Zaitouneh was busy trying to gather evidence and write reports about violations committed by militant groups. However, despite being repeatedly denied access to militants’ facilities, including those operated by Jaish al-Islam, she continued her research.
When she refused to back down, members of the terrorist group took things a step further. They launched a social media campaign to discredit her, including making her out to be an immoral woman and likening her to a spy working for Damascus, according to several sources who were in Douma at the time, the report said.
DW obtained a voice recording of a man who was ordered by a Jaish al-Islam associate to threaten Zaitouneh. He can be heard describing his interaction with the victim.
According to audio testimony obtained by DW, Zaitouneh was seen at Tawbeh prison by another female inmate within months of the abduction.
All efforts to release Zaitouneh and her companions failed.
Only weeks before a Russian airstrike would kill him in December 2015, so-called Jaish al-Islam founder and military leader, Zahran Alloush, promised friends and families of the victims to settle the question regarding their fate.