Foreword

The High Cost of Failure in Idlib

The hum of an aircraft hovering above. An explosion. Children crying in terror as their parents pick them up and flee. Blood, dust, and destruction everywhere. It is an all too familiar sequence of events through the Syrian conflict, in Aleppo, Ghouta, and now, Idlib. Despite widespread condemnation of this familiar tragedy, not enough has been done to protect civilians in Syria. On April 26, the Syrian-Russian military alliance launched a long-anticipated offensive on Idlib and Northern Hama governorates, the last territories in Syria held by anti-government armed groups. The escalation comes after Russia and Turkey brokered a ceasefire in September 2018. Now, though, strikes have resumed, and with them, abject disregard for civilian life. More than 80 civilians have died in the last three weeks, according to the UN. Local monitors and activists registered hundreds of strikes per day on schools, hospitals and homes – civilian objects protected under international law. For the first time in almost two years, we have received reports of the Syrian government using their notorious barrel bombs. These weapons, which we last documented the government using in Aleppo in late 2016, are indiscriminate and have devastating effects on populated civilian areas.

News & Views






Questions and Answers About Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons

Anne Barnard, our former Beirut bureau chief, took to Reddit to share additional insights into her Times investigation of the cruel tactics President Bashar al-Assad uses to crack down on opposition.

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After the IS group in Syria: Helping families trace loved ones who have disappeared

The fight against the Islamic State group in Syria may now be won, but for the families of an estimated 8,000 people who disappeared during IS group detention, not knowing what happened to their loved ones is a daily agony

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Syria: EU renews sanctions against the regime by one year

The Council also removed 5 deceased persons from the list, as well as one entity which ceased to exist and one entity for which there were no longer grounds to keep it under restrictive measures

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SWEDISH WAR CRIMES UNIT INTERVIEWS SYRIAN TORTURE SURVIVORS

TORTURE UNDER ASSAD: FIGHTING IMPUNITY WITH UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION LAWS

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Victims






‘No way back’: The law that stops displaced Syrians from ever going home

Owners of properties in war-devastated areas are concerned that Law 10 is nothing but a legal cover for government expropriation, erasing all trace of opposition

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In pictures: Floods devastate refugee camps in northern Syria

The camp is part of the large Atama camp compound across northern Syria. According to the Response Coordination Group (RCG) manager Mohammad Hallaj there are “more than 11,000 families affected” by the rainfall

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To Minimize Civilians Harm in Idlib, Public Information Campaign

The violations varied, including five massacres and no less than 82 attacks on civil vital centers, 17 places of worship, 19 schools, six medical facilities and four markets

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Reconciliations The Last Option for Deir Ezzor Populations

Hussien says “We were about two thousand people including women. The first checkpoint of the regular forces took photocopy for our IDs and ordered us to chant for the president in order to atone for our sins, as they said”

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Accountability






Prosecuting ISIS in Northeast Syria

Following the capture of Baghouz, SDF officials called for an international tribunal to help prosecute the more than 1,000 foreign fighters in its custody

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Justice or Forgiveness? The Case of Anwar Raslan

Discussions about who deserves to be tried, and who deserves amnesty, are integral to any post-conflict criminal accountability process

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Ali Mamlouk’s visit to Italy is a stab in the back of Syrian victims of Assad’s torture

Unfortunately, this feeling of being ignored by Italy has been reinforced with the latest elections which have been won by the Northern League and the Five Stars Movement, two parties which had several times expressed their support towards Russia and Assad regime’s ‘fight against terrorism’

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Experts say war crimes case against Assad government growing

Criminal investigators say they have built a case documenting the widespread torture and murder of Syrian detainees by the Assad government

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Crimes






Crimes and violations against Syrian children

Under international laws, children benefit from the protections granted to civilian non-combatants

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Chemical weapons use against civilians

Each State Party undertakes to destroy chemical weapons it owns or possesses, or that are located in any place under its jurisdiction or control, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention.

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Premeditated murder and mass killing

These crimes have been documented by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the independent, international commission of inquiry established by council resolution S-17/1 of 23 August 2011.

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