🎗️Yassin al Haj Saleh🎗️, from Raqqa, is one of the leading Syrian leftist dissidents and intellectual voices of the revolution. He is known as “the conscience of the Syrian revolution”. Originally a medical student, Al Haj Saleh was arrested in 1980 for his membership in the opposition Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau) and spent over 15 years in prison. His last year was in Tadmur Prison, a prison notorious for its extensive human rights abuse and torture.
He has been a key advocate for the revolution and has also been a vocal critic of the western left and the ongoing precarity of Syrians in their discourses: They “simply do not see us; it is not about us at all. Syria is only an additional occasion for their old anti-imperialist tirades, never the living subject of the debate” (Al Haj Saleh, 2015).
Yassin has authored many books including a memoir of his time in prison, and [in English] The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy (2017). He is co-founder of the online newspaper Al Jumhuriya, where he regularly writes.
Samira al Khalil, his wife and fellow dissident, was abducted in Douma, most likely by Jaish Al Islam, in December 2013 and has not been heard from since. She was kidnapped in her home along with Razan Zeitouneh, a human rights lawyer and activist, her husband Wael Hamada, and poet Nazaem al Hammadi. Together they formed the “Douma Four”, and their kidnapping was considered a significant setback for the liberation struggle in Syria. Yassin’s brother, Feras, was kidnapped by ISIS, and has also not been heard from since.
Yassin Al Haj Saleh eventually fled to Turkey, where he became another one the millions of refugees who have escaped Syrian regime brutality. He is now a fellow at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study.
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