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Musician: Syrian security raids family home

By Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Jandali family home is in Homs
  • The U.N. cites the targeting of families and sympathizers
  • Malek Jandali's parents are now in the United States

(CNN) -- The home of a Syrian musician's family was ransacked this week, an act viewed as further intimidation by security forces angry at his views about the government.

Malek Jandali, a renowned composer and pianist in Syria, told CNN Saturday that he learned from close sources that two armed security officers broke into his family's Homs residence and looted and destroyed furniture. The house was empty because his parents had fled to the United States.

Jandali, an American citizen living in Atlanta, says he believes security forces targeted his family because of his pro-opposition performances. He said he hoped his music would promote harmony, peace and understanding, but he believes a July performance in Washington prompted thugs to assault his parents.

He says the Thursday night break-in was retaliation for the publication of his parents' photos after the beating. Images posted on Facebook showed evidence of a brutal beating.

Jandali thinks the forces didn't know his parents had fled their home.

"When they couldn't find anybody, they looted the house," he said. A security camera in the house recorded their movements, Jandali said.

The Syrian government crackdown against protesters began in mid-March, with death tolls estimated to be high as 3,000. The government's stance has been widely deplored over the world.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday that "prominent human rights defenders, inside and outside the country" and "families and sympathizers of the protesters" are reported to have been targeted by security forces.

Malek Jandali says his parents -- Dr. Mamoun Jandali, 73, and Linah Droubi 66 -- have been among such family members targeted.

Dr. Mamoun Jandali was bound, gagged and beaten by three men in July.
Dr. Mamoun Jandali was bound, gagged and beaten by three men in July.

The July attack unfolded as Mamoun Jandali was carrying groceries from his car to his home in Homs.

A man grabbed him from behind and asked him to help care for someone who had been injured.

When the surgeon, agreed to do so, the man spoke into his cell phone and said to bring the patient. Moments later, two other men showed up unaccompanied by any patient.

They handcuffed the doctor, covered his mouth and nose with duct tape, then took him upstairs. Linah was in bed at the time.

The three men beat the father and pummeled the mother brutally, causing severe injuries to her face. They locked them both in their bathroom, and ransacked the house.

They were bleeding and stuck in the dark during the ransacking,

Mamoun held onto his cell phone during the ordeal. After the attackers left, Linah grabbed the cell phone and called relatives. They in turn called political security forces, the only ones who could unlock the handcuffs.

They decided to leave Syria after they were assaulted last summer. They moved from one house to the next for a while to stay safe. With the help of the U.S. State Department, they were able to obtain visas to get to the United States.

Mamoun arrived in Atlanta a few days ago. Linah arrived in Detroit a few weeks ago where she is staying with another son, Rami Jandali, a prosthodontist. She is getting medical treatment and she will eventually go to Atlanta to reunite with her husband.

Mamoun Jandali told CNN the assault was "unexpected."

"I thank God that they didn't kill us," he said. "They referred to my son Malek" and said "this is a lesson to teach you how to raise your son Malek."

Asked about life in Syria, the doctor described a country in turmoil.

Citing reports of wounded demonstrators seized by security forces, Jandali said he has been asked to treat people in their homes because they are afraid to go to the hospitals.

He said he "can't imagine" there would be people who would force doctors to stop anesthesia and end operations and then take away the wounded. A recent Human Rights Watch report has accounts of security force hospital raids.

"People are angry because there is no human rights," he said. "The regime is very brutal in its behavior with the demonstrators."

He thinks the problems there can be solved if the ruling Baath Party's power becomes limited and President Bashar al-Assad resigns.

"Personally, I think this regime will not respond to any advice, to any statement telling him to step down," he said. "They think they have this land as a heritage."

He said the economy is worsening and soldiers are leaving the army. He ponders the specter of more instability.

"If it does go in this way, we will have civil war or some countries from outside will come and help one group against the other," he said.

CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report

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