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Governments Should Bolster Respect for Landmark Arms Ban

Governments should reinforce the global ban on chemical weapons by suspending the rights and privileges of Syria, a party to the treaty that has violated it with impunity for years.  This week, states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
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When history reflects on the Syrian conflict, a defining hallmark will be the Syrian government’s deliberate targeting of civilians. Backed by Russian forces, the government has rained bombs on markets, hospitals, schools, and homes. In 2019 and 2020,…
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Close Legal Loopholes to Prevent Further Civilian Suffering

(Geneva) – The horrific burns and life-long suffering caused by incendiary weapons demand that governments urgently revise existing treaty standards, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic said in a report…
اوربلونکې وسله چې د ۲۰۱۶ کال د جون پر ۲۲مه د سوريې د حلب ښار پر کفر همراه کلي لګېدلې ده.
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Summary In April 2019, the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, launched a major military offensive to retake Idlib governorate and surrounding areas in northwest Syria— one of the last areas controlled by anti-government armed groups. Over the…
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Unlawful Attacks on Hospitals, Schools, Markets Forced Idlib Population Out

The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Dozens of unlawful air…
A woman in a black niqab and face mask walks through a deserted street with a child
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(Geneva, October 15, 2020) – The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
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Ankara Should Investigate Attacks Harming Civilians, Compensate Victims

(Beirut) - A Turkish military attack on an Iranian armed group in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in late June 2020 failed to take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today. The apparent airstrike, on June 25…
Payman Thalib Thaher lost her left leg in the Turkish airstrike at Kuna Masi water resort on June 25, 2020.
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Syrians Returned to Streets Over Economic Meltdown

(Beirut) – Syrian security forces responded to a protest in the city of Sweida on June 15 by beating and arresting protesters demonstrating against the government’s failure to address the country’s economic meltdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
People hold up banners at a protest in Sweida on June 9, 2020
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12 killed on first day of new decade

(Beirut) – A ballistic missile equipped with a banned cluster munition warhead launched by Syrian forces killed 12 civilians, including 5 children, at a school on January 1, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack…
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White Phosphorus Should Be Included on the List

(Geneva) – Russia should support, not block, diplomatic talks about possible action to address the civilian harm caused by the use of incendiary weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.  Issued…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

  Ten years ago, images of white phosphorus munitions raining fire on populated areas of Gaza generated international outrage and sparked discussions of incendiary weapons at the United Nations. The Israel Defense Forces’ use of white…
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500,000 People Displaced in Recent Hostilities Stuck at Turkish Border

(Beirut) – A Syrian-Russian military alliance strike on a displacement compound in mid-August is an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. Witnesses said there was no apparent military target for the…
Residents rescue injured child after strike on the displacement center in Hass on August 16, 2019.
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First Public ‘Condolence’ Payment Provides Way Forward

(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) should address the harm to civilians during military operations in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Independent investigators have reported…
Destroyed house from US-led coalition strike that killed 13 civilians in Tal al-Jayer, Syria in July 2017.
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International Norms Ignored as Civilians Suffer

(Beirut) – The Russian-Syrian joint military operation has used internationally banned and other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks on civilians in northwest Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. According to the…
A man inspects the destruction left by overnight air strikes targeting residential areas at Kafr Nabl in the rebel-held Idlib Province, Syria, May 20 2019.
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Satellite Imagery Reveals Large-Scale Destruction of Buildings

(New York) – Protecting civilians should be a key priority for the US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) makes its last territorial stand in Syria, Human Rights Watch said…
Satellite-analysis of US-led coalition air strike locations in Baghuz (19 January - 20 February 2019)
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Delivered by Bonnie Docherty, Senior Researcher

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. The exceptional cruelty and ongoing use of incendiary weapons demand a global response. Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented thirty new attacks with incendiary weapons across six…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the 2018 Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

Incendiary weapons are among the cruelest weapons used in contemporary armed conflict. These weapons, which produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance, cause excruciating burns and destroy…
Des habitants tentent d'éteindre des incendies provoqués par une attaque à l'arme incendiaire dans l'ouest d'Idlib, Syrie, 30 juillet 2018.
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Spotlighting Inadequate International Law

(Geneva) – Countries at an upcoming United Nations disarmament conference, faced with evidence of 30 new incendiary weapons attacks in Syria, should agree to strengthen the international law that governs their use, Human Rights Watch said in a…
Incendiary weapons were used in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, in March 2018, causing more than 260 civilian casualties.