Samar Allouni, Bergen Op Zoom, Netherlands
Samar is a member of Families For Freedom, a women-led movement of Syrian families demanding freedom for all of the country's detained and disappeared.
My husband was a university professor and passed through checkpoints every day without problems. Then one day they stopped him and took him away. The officer at the checkpoint told me to leave, otherwise I might be in danger too. At that time the area we were living in was surrounded by ISIS and it was very hard. I wanted to take my children to Damascus. I tried to pay smugglers to get us out.
The regime told me if I wanted to see my husband again I had to pay 2 million Syrian pounds. Two days before they were meant to hand him over they told me I had to pay even more. Then suddenly the person organizing the arrangement called again and told me to forget about it, my husband wasn't coming back. This was in 2015.
I then tried to get any piece of information I could. Everyone kept telling me to leave because my family and I were in danger. All families of detainees are in danger. And I was scared because I had two sons so we managed to get out. First we went to Lebanon, then Turkey and now we are in the Netherlands. We still haven't received any reliable information about my husband's fate.
Nothing is harder than waiting like this, not knowing what news might come. And not being able to do anything at all, it leaves you hopeless. But I had to stay strong because I was taking my children to start a new life in a new country. I never wanted to leave Syria because I wanted to hold on to the hope that my husband would come back. But I had to take my children to safety. I called people every single day to find out anything about what had happened to him. Every day.
The hardest thing about waiting is the constant fear. I used to hide my fear from my children and they did the same for me. I feared reading the names of detainees and those who died in case I saw his name. I need to keep hoping. I don't just want freedom for my husband but for everyone who has been taken away. I want the regime to be held accountable for what they have done. I want to be able to say one day that we got our rights and the rights of the detained.