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Mothers of missing Syrians look for answers

Thousands of Syrians remain missing, either abducted by armed groups or held in government prisons, leaving their anguished families distraught.
Free Syrian Army fighters man a checkpoint to prevent kidnapping, activists said, in Kafranbel, Idlib province February 7, 2014. Picture taken February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Fadi Mashan (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX18FIK

DAMASCUS, Syria — Jamal, a 25-year-old student at the University of Damascus, is accustomed to spending most of his holidays at his brother Hossam’s house in Adra al-Omalia, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northeast of Damascus, where he would play with his three nephews and savor the cooking of his sister-in-law. However, when Jaish al-Islam fighters stormed the town of Adra al-Omalia on Dec. 14, 2013, his brother’s entire family was abducted by the fighters.

Jamal lives with his mother and sister in Mezze 86, a popular and mostly Alawite district that is very difficult to enter, given the prevalence of the Popular Committees that prevent anyone who does not reside there from entering. Al-Monitor arrived at the outskirts of the district with Jamal in a taxi. He gestured to a member of the Popular Committee, “Habibi! How are you? These are our guests.” And with that, we entered the Mezze 86 district.

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