Syrian women sing from open-top “Freedom bus” as a rallying cry to Macron

Media Advisory and photo call: Place de la République, Saturday 27 January, 12pm-3pm.

  • Women, whose husbands, brothers and sons have disappeared in Syria, call on Macron to use all his influence to push for the release of their loved ones.
  • London bus covered in portraits of detainees in Syria visits Paris en route to Damascus

Families for Freedom, a women-led campaign for the rights of Syria’s disappeared and detained, bring their red London bus covered in portraits of their loved ones to Paris this weekend to urge Macron to use all his influence to push for their husbands, brothers and sons’ release from detention in Syria’s brutal prisons.

An estimated 200,000 women, men and children have been arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime and armed opposition and extremist groups over the past six years of war.

The vast majority of Syrian detainees are peaceful people, imprisoned for political reasons, often forced on to buses by the Syrian government and taken to prison for years of abuse, torture and starvation. Detainees don’t suffer alone, their families suffer too. Families for Freedom visit Paris this week to share their story of hope and defiance with Macron and the French public.

The “Freedom bus” is visiting key capitals as a rallying cry to Europe’s leaders to act for Syria’s detainees. Families for Freedom hopes their world tour will one day end outside the Damascus courthouse when they are finally reunited with their loved ones and take them home.

The women will gather on Saturday at the Place de la République to tell their stories, sing and stand in solidarity with all those in detention.

A founder of Families for Freedom, Fadwa Mahmoud said:

“We have been intimidated and told not to speak out but we will not be silenced until every loved one in Syria is returned to their families. Macron must push and persuade the Syrian Government to release the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who have been illegally and wrongfully detained in Syria’s brutal jails. The red bus of portraits is our way of travelling with our loved ones around the globe. While they forced to endure torture, shut off from the world all we can do is sing and cry out for their release.”


12:30 Photo call and speeches by Families for Freedom and Women Now For Development

13:00 Music by Catherine Vincent and Mohamad Alarashi, Love Peace and Revolution

13:30  Syrian families to add photos of their missing loved ones to the bus

13:30 – 15:00 Interviews available

Families for Freedom and the Freedom bus in London, October 2017

For more information or to secure an interview contact [email protected]

Notes to editor

  1. Families for Freedom will be in Paris from 26-31 January; broadcast, online and print interviews available at other times.
  2. More information on Families for Freedom here
  3. More information on musicians Catherine Vincent and Mohamad Alarashi here
  4. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). SNHR has documented more than 100,000 cases of arbitrary detention and forced disappearance. They estimate that the number of Syrians arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared is closer to 200,000.
  5. The Freedom bus began its journey in London in October. Watch the event here