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Set Principled Framework for Aid, Protection, Justice

(Brussels) – The European Union-United Nations sponsored aid conference for Syria on March 29-30, 2021, should prioritize a rights-respecting aid framework that advances urgent protection, humanitarian, and accountability needs, Human Rights Watch…
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Past Inquiries Named Responsible Parties

For years, hospitals in Syria have been getting bombed. These attacks continue even though the UN collected the locations of these protected sites and shared them with the warring parties in hope of shielding them from the crossfire.…
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, February 10, 2017.
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More International Support Needed for Clearance

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including more than 150 children, in Raqqa, Syria since the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) was pushed out of the city in October 2017, Human Rights Watch…
Warning about mines written on outside wall of building in Raqqa, Syria, January 21, 2018.
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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Detainee Rights, Indiscriminate Attacks, Treatment of Displaced People

(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and other local armed groups should make protecting civilians and respect for human rights a priority in the offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
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Security Forces, Prisoners, Women, Among Those Executed

(Erbil) – The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) executed and dumped the bodies of possibly hundreds of detainees at a site near Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the bodies of those killed,…
‘Hammam al-Alil mass grave marked and fenced’ Caption: A marked and fenced ISIS mass grave in Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, discovered in November 2016.
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UN General Assembly Should Organize Emergency Special Session

(New York) – The Russian-Syrian coalition committed war crimes during a month-long aerial bombing campaign of opposition-controlled territory in Aleppo in September and October 2016. The Violations Documentation Center…
Ruins of a residential house that was struck in an aerial attack, killing at least 24 civilians, on September 27, 2016.
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Lessons for Impending Battles in Iraq and Syria

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, in Manbij, a city in northern Syria. The antipersonnel mines, often called improvised explosive devices, were planted by the…
A family member stands next to the graves of three children who were killed when an explosive device planted by ISIS in a school in Manbij detonated on September 27.
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Iraqi forces trying to take back Mosul must learn the lessons of Manbij, where returnees face booby traps.

Twelve-year old Aqil Hammud’s legs and arms were riddled with painful scars. Bits of fragments from the improvised explosive device that exploded underneath him on that hot June day were still lodged in his sun-tanned skin. He and four…
2)	Zakia Hassan holds a photo of her son, Ibrahim Hammud, 35, who detonated an explosive device when he stepped on a mattress as he returned to his house on August 12.
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Warring Parties Should Prioritize Protecting Civilians

(New York) – An attack on a United Nations aid convoy and on a Red Crescent warehouse in Aleppo should be investigated as possible war crimes. The apparent airstrikes on September 19, 2016, hit the convoy and building for over three hours with no military…
Damaged medical supplies after an airstrike on Urm al-Kubra town, western Aleppo city, Syria September 20, 2016
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Despite Promises, Syrian Officials Withhold Permits

Convoys filled with lifesaving aid stand idle on the Syria-Turkish border. The Syrian government has failed to issue permits to the United Nations to access and distribute aid to opposition-held Aleppo. The UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland also blamed…
Commercial Turkish trucks wait to cross to Syria near the Cilvegozu border gate, located opposite the Syrian commercial crossing point Bab al-Hawa in Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey, September 16, 2016.
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RENAMO Attacks Deprive Thousands of Health Care

(Johannesburg) – Armed men linked to Mozambique’s main opposition party, the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), have raided at least two hospitals and two health clinics over the past month. The attacks on the medical facilities, which involved…
Bullet hole in the window of Morrumbala District Hospital after the raid by RENAMO gunmen on August 12, 2016.
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UN Should Build Case to Prosecute

(New York) – Syrian and Russian military attacks on hospitals in recent weeks during the government air campaign in the Aleppo region are causing deaths and injuries and shutting down medical facilities. The United Nations Security Council should ask the…
Men and civil defence members look for survivors after an airstrike on a hospital in the town of Meles, western Idlib city in opposition armed forces-held Idlib province, Syria on August 6, 2016.
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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attacks on Latakia Bus Stations, Hospital

(New York) – A series of car bombings and suicide attacks targeting civilian bus stations and a hospital in Syrian government-controlled areas on May 23, 2016, would appear to constitute war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. The ISIS news agency Amaq…
People inspect the damage after explosions hit the Syrian city of Tartous, in this handout picture provided by the Syrian Arab News Agency on May 23, 2016.
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“Urban areas have become death traps for thousands of civilians,” says a new report issued by the United Nations Secretary-General ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit, which opens May 23, 2016, in Istanbul. The report describes the widespread use…
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UN Security Council Should Enforce Resolution 2254

(New York) – Deadly airstrikes on a hospital and a clinic in Aleppo show a disregard for civilian life and may amount to war crimes.    An airstrike on April 27, 2016, that hit al-Quds Hospital and…
A view shows the damage at al-Quds hospital after it was hit by airstrikes, in a rebel-held area of Syria's Aleppo.
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Despite the chilly morning air in Berlin, Dr. Sami Sharif prefers to sit at one of the café’s outside tables, where he can smoke. He sips his espresso and smiles, as he tells me that when he was younger, he didn’t want to be a doctor at all, he wanted to…
The café where Dr. Sami Sharif was interviewed.
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Government Defying UN Resolution

(New York) – The Syrian government has carried out hundreds of new indiscriminate attacks over the past year with air-delivered munitions, including improvised weapons such as barrel bombs. The attacks have had a devastating impact on civilians, killing…