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What occurred to psychotherapist Majd Kamalmaz after disappearing at Syrian regime checkpoint 3 years in the past?

Her father, the famend psychotherapist and humanitarian Majd Kamalmaz, had been taken by Syrian authorities forces after being stopped at a Damascus checkpoint. His disappearance got here lower than a day after he ventured into the war-torn nation of his delivery following a demise within the household. He additionally went to supply skilled help to these traumatized by the nation’s protracted civil warfare.

The 61-year-old Syrian-American has not been heard from since, however his spouse and 4 kids within the U.S. refuse to surrender the struggle for his freedom, and have launched their very own “Free Majd” public marketing campaign.

“We have now been looking for his precise location for some time, we put out ads on Fb,” Maryam Kamalmaz informed Fox Information. “We’re simply in search of whoever would possibly know one thing to achieve out to us; we’re ready for any results in are available in. We wish to guarantee he’s nonetheless alive.”

Majd Kamalmaz was taken by Syrian government forces after being stopped at a checkpoint in Damascus in February 2017

Majd Kamalmaz was taken by Syrian authorities forces after being stopped at a checkpoint in Damascus in February 2017
(Kamalmaz household)

However the silence has been deafening. The household acquired credible proof-of-life months later, from a detainee in a Syrian army jail cell on the fringes of Damascus. He mentioned he conversed first-hand with Majd.

“My dad observed this different detainee’s nervousness; he went over and began comforting him and sharing what little meals he had with him. This man informed us he may always remember our father – his compassion and the way in which he cared,” Maryam referred to as.


In any case, her dad had devoted his life to the service of others and holding the palms of damaged, anguished people trapped in trauma.

Majd Kamalmaz – who immigrated to the U.S. as a boy together with his mother and father – wished to make use of his expertise as a therapist to assist others from his first house, and within the warmth of the warfare opened a psychosocial therapeutic heart for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Nonetheless, his devotion to enhancing the psychological well being of others – normally paying from his personal pocket to take action – began lengthy earlier than the eruption of the Syrian warfare in 2011.

Maryam Kamalmaz mentioned that as a baby, she watched her father come and go from pockets of the planet the place he thought he may make a distinction, nevertheless modest.

“Every time a pure catastrophe struck, he was there. He labored in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina,” she mentioned. “When the tsunami hit Indonesia, Majd went there to serve others. He additionally labored with warfare victims in Kosovo and Bosnia following the catastrophic wars in these nations.”

Happier times: Majd Kamalmaz with his grandchildren in the U.S.

Happier instances: Majd Kamalmaz together with his grandchildren within the U.S.
(Kamalmaz household)

Those that know or labored with Kamalmaz describe him as a delicate soul who lights up a room – somebody who’s soft-spoken and who goes out of his away to make others really feel just a bit bit higher about themselves.

“He wasn’t political, it wasn’t a Syrian activist,” his daughter emphasised. “He simply needs to assist individuals who wanted assist.”

Within the preliminary months after Kamalmaz’s apprehension, the Czech ambassador to Syria – who acted as a go-between for the U.S. provided that Washington had severed diplomatic relations with Damascus – informed the household that Syrian officers confirmed he was of their custody. However the story later modified, and Damascus denied the American citizen was ever held there.

In 2018, Maryam heard that her father was seen alive, though it was not as credible as the primary sighting. And for 2 years, not a phrase.


Whereas Majd didn’t maintain a Syrian passport and really a lot recognized together with his American upbringing, the Bashar al-Assad authorities in Syria doesn’t acknowledge twin citizenship. It robotically treats anybody born within the nation as a sole citizen, making launch negotiations all of the more difficult for Washington’s inter-agency hostage restoration fusion cell.

The cell was shaped at then-President Obama’s behest in 2014, following criticism over discombobulated endeavors to free People and the outcry over the beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

The Trump administration, which has made securing the discharge of People unjustly detained a precedence, has garnered a lot success in the previous couple of months. U.S. Navy veteran Michael White was free of Iran and NASA scientist Serkan Golge returned house from Turkey. It has been working quietly to collect extra data on Majd Kamalmaz’s whereabouts and standing.

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casting his ballot on the constitution that could end five decades of single-party domination, as his wife Asma looks on at a polling station in Damascus, on February 26, 2012. (AFP via Getty Images)

A handout image launched by the Syrian Arab Information Company (SANA) exhibits Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casting his poll on the structure that might finish 5 many years of single-party domination, as his spouse Asma seems to be on at a polling station in Damascus, on February 26, 2012. (AFP through Getty Photographs)

“The U.S. Authorities is in frequent contact with the Kamalmaz household to offer help and data. President Trump has made it clear that the protection and safety of all People is a high precedence,” Amb. Roger Carstens, particular presidential envoy for hostage affairs, informed Fox Information in an announcement. “Bringing house Majd, together with all U.S. residents held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas, has the eye of the very best ranges within the U.S. authorities.”


For the Kamalmaz household, the void and the method is as painful as it’s sophisticated.

“It is the toughest for my mom, she cries every single day, and she will be able to’t get pleasure from something. How can we exit and have any enjoyable once we do not know the place he’s?” Maryam added. “However we all know this can be a work in progress; we’re engaged on it. We can’t hand over on our father.”

Hollie McKay has a been a Fox Information Digital employees reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from warfare zones together with Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, and Latin America investigates international conflicts, warfare crimes and terrorism world wide. Comply with her on Twitter and Instagram @holliesmckay

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