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International Action Needed to Resolve Broader Detention Crisis

(Beirut) – Kurdish-led regional fighters backed by US and UK military forces recaptured a prison in northeast Syria that Islamic State (ISIS) fighters had held for six days on January 26, 2022. At least 284 people died during the assault and…
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Unlawful Syrian-Russian Alliance Attack Strikes Civilians

Update December 13, 2021: After publication, Human Rights Watch interviewed a knowledgeable source who said he observed at least seven large-caliber artillery shells being fired into Ariha on October 20 at 8 a.m.. He said they had been fired from a…
A man stands amongst rubble in an apartment building
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(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch…
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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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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…
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Vulnerable People Stripped of Services During Pandemic

Update 8/25/21: In a letter dated August 13, 2021, the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut responded to Human Rights Watch laying out the measures the government is taking to ensure that returns are not forced, and saying that it is providing food, shelter, and…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

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. 
News

Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News

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.
News
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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Improved Trials Should Be Replicated

(Beirut) – A special committee of judges to adjudicate cases of children in detention in Iraq for alleged links to the Islamic State (ISIS) during the first half of 2020 appeared to comply with international human rights standards better than other…
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Government Should Show Progress on Pledge to Locate Victims

(Beirut) – Iraqi authorities should fulfill a commitment to locate victims of enforced disappearance and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, Human Rights Watch said today. Since taking office in May 2020, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-…
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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
News

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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Summary I would like you to pass on our voice. It’s not a voice. It’s a cry of pain. We have been here in Lebanon because they not only raped us, they also raped our land and dignity. —Male survivor of conflict-related sexual violence in Syria,…
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  Summary “Please, bring me back to Canada. … Please, forgive me. Let me be who I am, a Canadian.” —Kimberly Polman, Canadian detained in camp for ISIS family members in Northeast Syria More than one year ago, in March 2019, local…