American activist tortured, killed in Syria, claims human rights group

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A US citizen who had been held in Syria by the regime of Bashar al Assad for nearly three years was killed while in its custody, according to a human rights group and the State Department.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that Layla Shwekani, who was born and spent her early years in Damascus, but lived in Chicago was a “humanitarian activist.”

In a newly released report, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said that Shwekani returned to Syria in 2015 and was detained in February 2016 by regime forces.

“She was registered in civil registry department as dead on December 28, 2016, and we believe she was executed in Sednaya military prison in the Damascus suburb ,” the group said.

The report released on December 2, details 15 people killed by torture in Syria in November.

The State Department confirmed to ABC News that they’re “aware of reports of the death of a US citizen in Syrian regime custody,” but they declined to comment further because of reasons of privacy.

The Syrian civil war has claimed more than 500,000 lives, according to monitoring groups. An additional 60,000 people have gone missing since the war began, according to the International Commission on Missing Persons.

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