Revolution Marks 13 Years as Human Rights Reports Highlight Dire Situation and Escalation in Syria


Credit: (Asharq Al-Awsat)

A new wave of violence has engulfed liberated northern Syria, as detailed in recent reports by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and the United Nations (UN). The reports shed light on the escalating conflict and its devastating impact on civilians in the region.

According to the UN, Syria is currently experiencing its worst surge of violence in four years, with a marked uptick in clashes between armed groups and internal repression by the Assad regime against political activity. The UN Syria Commission of Inquiry’s report, set to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on March 18, highlights the intensification of violence over the past six months. Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the UN commission, emphasized the urgent need for international efforts to contain the fighting and called for a ceasefire to prevent further devastation.

The UN report cites various factors contributing to the escalation of violence, including clashes between the Assad regime and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, Turkish operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following a terrorist attack in Ankara, and fighting between the SDF and the Deir Ezzor Military Council. Additionally, the spillover from Israel’s conflict with Gaza and attacks by Iraqi militias on US sites in Syria have further fueled the turmoil.

The situation in northern Syria is exacerbated by the dire humanitarian conditions faced by the population. Nearly 90% of Syrians live below the poverty line, with civilians increasingly subjected to predatory practices by armed groups. The SNHR report, released on the 13th anniversary of the start of the Syrian revolution, paints a grim picture of the human cost of the conflict. Documenting the killing of over 230,000 civilians since the revolution began, with the vast majority attributed to the Syrian regime and its allies.

The SNHR report also highlights widespread violations of human rights, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and attacks on essential facilities. It points to the Syrian regime, Russian forces, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Syrian National Army (SNA), HTS, and other unknown or additional parties as perpetrators of these atrocities. The report underscores the urgent need for accountability and justice for the victims of these crimes.

Over the last 13 years, between March 2011 and March 2024, the Assad regime killed 201,260, including 23,039 children and 12,002 women. While Russian forces killed 6,969, including 2,055 children and 983 women. ISIS killed 5,056 people, including 959 children and 587 women. HTS killed 538, including 76 children and 82 women. The SNA killed 4,227 people, including 1,009 children and 886 women. The SDF killed 1,491 people, including 264 children and 177 women.

In terms of arbitrary detention, forced disappearance, and torture the document revealed that the Assad regime is currently holding 136,192 civilians, including 3,696 children, and 8,497 women. While HTS has 2,587, including 47 children and 45 women in custody, the SNA has 4,243, including 364 children and 879 women in prison with 5051, including 809 children and 529 women held by the SDF.

In terms of torture, the SNHR counted that at least 15,334 people had died due to torture with nearly 99%, 15,074, including 190 children and 95 women killed by the Assad regime. Forty-one, including two children and a woman by HTS, the SNA killed 57, including a child and two women, and 100, including two children and three women tortured to death by the SDF.

Despite years of documentation and advocacy by international bodies like the UN and SNHR, the perpetrators of these violations remain largely unaccountable. While the reports serve as crucial evidence for future legal action, their immediate impact on the ground is limited. However, they play a vital role in preserving the truth and ensuring that the voices of victims are not forgotten.


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