As the international community watches the Syrian crackdown
in horror, Syrian security forces employ even more deadly means of intimidation
and interrogation. Over ten thousand Syrian refugees are believed to be seeking
in Turkish refugee camps and border towns such as Jisr al-Shughur have become epicenters of mass graves, torture
and now, rape.
Four teenage sisters from the Syrian-Turkish border town of Sumeriya
are now among the growing number of rape victims
in Syria. Though reportedly recovering in a Turkish hospital, the women could face a
lifetime of shame in a country where honor killings have been reported to
restore a family's honor.
When news spread of the sisters' plight, a group of men from
a nearby town vowed to marry the women, defying tradition and more importantly,
defying the string of mass rapes used by pro-government forces in desperate attempt
to squelch the revolution. Horrifying stories are now emerging: soldiers
kicking down the doors of sleeping women; young girls being forced to serve as
sex slaves for the military. Musab Jani, a young man who supports the mission to marry
victims of rape, stated
"Dignity and reputation are the most important things for Syrians. And
women are a big part of this and the regime knows it. So for this reason, they
do this to us as the opposition."
Rape has long been used as a weapon of war, decisively used
to destroy the morale of a country and its people. But it seems there is a wave
of hope on the horizon, led by activists like Mohammad Merhi, a makeshift
refugee camp pharmacist, hopes
that he too will marry one of the four sisters, even though he has never met
"I know that these girls suffered. They were taken against
their will. I don't care what they look like, the point is to stand by them,
and I do with all of my heart."
MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images