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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.
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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News

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.
Report
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…
News

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
Video
(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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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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News

Failing Diplomatic Talks Show Need for a Different Path

(Geneva) – Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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News

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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News

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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News

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.
News

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.
News

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.
News

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)
News

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.
News

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.
News
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.
News

Dire Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Fighting

(Beirut) – Jordanian and Israeli authorities should allow Syrians fleeing fighting in Daraa governorate to claim asylum and protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2018, the Syrian-Russian military alliance opened an…
An Internally displaced girl from Daraa province carries a stuffed toy and holds the hand of child near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria June 29, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir