• Syria’s armed conflict escalated as the government intensified its attacks and began using increasingly deadly and indiscriminate weapons, culminating in a chemical weapons attack on the Damascus countryside on August 21, 2013. Government forces and pro-government militias also continued to torture detainees and commit executions. Armed opposition forces, including a growing number of pro-opposition foreign fighters, also carried out serious abuses including indiscriminate attacks on civilians, executions, kidnapping, and torture. The spread and intensification of fighting led to a dire humanitarian crisis with millions internally displaced or seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
  • The prominent Syrian human rights defenders Razan Zaitouneh, Samira al-Khalil, Wael Hamada, and Nazem Hammadi – the Douma Four – remain missing a year after their abduction, 54 organizations said today. The four were abducted in Douma, a city near Damascus under the control of armed opposition groups. They should be released immediately, the groups said.