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The endgame of the war in Syria is likely to come down to the northwestern province of Idlib, on the Turkish border, where some 2.3 million people are now trapped. As Russian-Syrian forces now finish retaking the smaller southwestern…
A mother shows a picture of her son, who was detained by authorities in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria, March 20, 2016. She has not heard any news about her son since then.
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As members of the UN Security Council debate this week about whether to renew their Syria chemical weapons investigation, they might want to read Wilfred Owen’s World War One poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” It describes an attack in which a man…
A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, Syria on April 5, 2017.
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Part of the challenge with documenting the fast-moving war in Syria is that research can become outdated as soon as it’s published. For example, last Thursday, Human Rights Watch issued a new report on more than 47 cluster munition…
Mena Syria Rrussia cluster munitions 6
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It is a striking sight: Dozens of brightly burning objects light up the night, slowly descending to the ground. It looks like a magnificent display of fireworks, but the burning objects are incendiary weapons designed to destroy…
Local Civil Defence Forces extinguishing flames in tent after Syrian government forces shelling hit Khirmash displaced persons camp in Syria on Turkey’s border on April 14, 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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Syrian asylum-seekers are the largest component of the latest refugee surge to Europe. Germany has been extraordinarily generous in providing a refuge. But with four million refugees having fled Syria’s daily atrocities and more waiting in the wings, we…
Relatives mourn as a man carries the body of a dead boy in a blanket at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Sheikh Khodr area in Aleppo on September 30, 2014.
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The victims have been children playing outdoors, pedestrians walking down the street, workers pressing olive oil, and even families in their homes. While the world has been focused on whether the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, the Syrian…
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Last week, life changed for 12-year-old “Aziza.” She had just arrived at her grandparents’ apartment in Aleppo with her family when she heard the sound of a jet and then a huge explosion. “Suddenly, it was all covered in dust,” Aziza said. “I heard my…
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It was cloudy the afternoon of January 3 when residents say the cluster bombs fell on the Syrian town of Latamneh. Three rockets containing the cluster munitions fell in nearby fields, apparently doing no harm, but a fourth landed on the street between…
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…