Update: Qusai managed to leave Syria after going through interrogations of regime representatives. Latest update by Michael Weiss.
We have already reported on the Syrian-Palestinian media activist Qusai Zakarya from Moadamiya, Damascus. He has been an active voice in the “Break the Siege” campaign to raise awareness of the regime’s siege and starvation that has been implemented during the last months in several suburbs of Damascus. Moadamiya is a suburb west of Damascus and has been besieged for more than half a year already. In the last weeks, the Local Council of Moadamiya had agreed to a truce with the regime that was opposed by many activists. While the truce has led to some minor food deliveries to Moadamiya, the siege has not been lifted. Hence, the regime did not live up to its promise of extensive food deliveries. Due to the continuing regime reprisal on the town, Qusai Zakarya has been rejecting the truce. He had been on hunger strike for one month last year and kept speaking out to the world via his english blog. This has made Qusai – among others – a regime target. Regime officials once vowed to shut up Qusai for good.
The regime meanwhile demanded that activists like Qusai Zakarya leave Moadamiya as part of the truce. Last week, Qusai Zakarya and others accepted to leave Moadamiya and to meet regime officials in central Damascus. Since anti-regime activists have prior been targeted by the regime despite of assurances, supporters have been alarmed for the activists’ safety. Adopt a Revolution has been supporting the media team of Moadamiya for several months. Therefore, we decided to join the support for Qusai and fellow activists.
Statement on Qusai Zakarya and fellow activists from Moadamiya
Yesterday [04.02.], Qusai Zakarya and several other opposition leaders and activists from Moadamiya accepted the regime’s offer of a face to face meeting as part of a deal for them to be allowed to leave the besieged area. Qusai’s group was taken to a hotel in central Damascus. They are waiting for a meeting tonight [05.02.] – presumably with officials from the Ministry of Reconciliation and the Fourth Armored Division Headquarters. Their safety was guaranteed by the regime as part of the deal.
To help ensure safety for Qusai and the other leaders, please use your contacts to help raise their case. We are contacting media, human rights organizations and politicians. We hold the regime responsible for his safety.
Qusai and other opposition leaders had initially opposed the truce and continued to call for breaking the siege. The regime then demanded that certain activists in Moadamiya leave as a condition of the truce. Due to increasing pressure from residents who want the food shipments, Qusai, along with other activists, yesterday agreed to leave Moadamiya for the meeting with government officials.