The detentions of members of a leading human rights group were detained on Sunday, which is the eve of the International Day for Human Rights. After a meeting held in Damascus, the capital of Syria, at least thirty members of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic Chang were detained.
A few hours after being arrested, most of the activists were released.
So far, public gatherings by this group have been banned. The arrests that took place on Sunday look to be an attempt to reinforce the ban by the Syrian government. This follows after one-hundred and sixty eight activists have met. The meeting called for a gradual and peaceful democratic change for the country.
One of the leading members explained to BBC that this was a message aimed at weakening the opposition movement in Syria.
Hundreds of political prisoners were released when President al-Assad came to power in 2000. However, repression came afterwards.