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UN Should Reauthorize Crucial Help from Neighboring Countries

Millions of Syrians risk losing access to lifesaving aid, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, if Russia vetoes reauthorizing the only remaining UN aid corridor from Turkey into opposition-held northwest Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
UN humanitarian aid trucks enter northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on June 1, 2021
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Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
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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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Countries should bring Citizens Home; Ensure Due Process for ISIS Suspects

Nearly 43,000 foreign men, women, and children linked to ISIS remain detained in inhuman or degrading conditions by regional authorities in northeast Syria, two years after they were rounded up during the fall of the Islamic State “caliphate,” often…
A boy flies a home-made kite in the foreigners’ section of al-Hol camp in northeast Syria on March 15, 2021.
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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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The Russian military marked the fifth anniversary of its intervention in the armed conflict in Syria on September 30. The consequences have been devastating for many Syrian civilians, with hundreds of thousands killed and millions more forced to flee…
Woman and child in rubble in Idlib
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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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Local Authorities Should Prioritize Finding the Missing

(Beirut) – Local authorities in northern Syria have failed to advance efforts to find people kidnapped by ISIS more than a year after its territorial defeat in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should promptly dedicate resources to…
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Inadequate Steps to Assist 47 Canadians in Dire Conditions

Canada is failing to take adequate steps to assist and repatriate dozens of Canadians unlawfully detained in dire conditions for alleged Islamic State (also known as ISIS) links in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.…
A girl stands in front of a chainlink fence
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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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UN Should Reauthorize Assistance from Iraq; Damascus Should Allow Passage

(Beirut) – Restrictions on aid deliveries from Damascus and Iraq are preventing medical supplies and personnel needed to prevent, contain, and treat Covid-19 from reaching two million people in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. On…
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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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The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Donald Trump signed into law in late December didn’t seem to make big news in the Middle East at the time. But it should have. Among its disappointments was that the final version dropped…
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"I was deported with about 35 Syrians on a large bus. They handcuffed us and…they beat some of the men on the bus with truncheons when they asked to go to the toilet or for water. We all spoke with each other [and] no one wanted to go back to Syria…
Turkish authorities have used the Cilvegözü border crossing, pictured here on March 3, 2015, to deport Syrian refugees. © 2015 Getty Images
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The death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two years after ISIS lost most of its Iraq territory and less than a year after the last major battles against ISIS in Syria. While al-Baghdadi’s death means that his…
Men, suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State, gather in a prison cell in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on October 26, 2019.
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Do you remember the last time you sat with your partner in the early cool evening air, recovering from a long day’s work and smiling as you watched your children play? A Syrian man, Khalid al-Satuf, does – and he will never forget it.…
From left to right: Maria (10), Ahmad (2½), Aya (6), and Rama (8) with their father, Khalid al-Satuf. © 2019 Khalid al-Satuf
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Authorities Use Violence, Threats, Detention to Coerce Returns

(Beirut) – Turkish authorities in Istanbul and Antakya arbitrarily detained and deported dozens of Syrians and possibly many more to northern Syria between January and September 2019 despite active hostilities there, Human Rights Watch…
Turkish authorities have used the Cilvegözü border crossing, pictured here on March 3, 2015, to deport Syrian refugees. © 2015 Getty Images