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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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Over 60 Detained, Forcibly Moved from Occupied Territories

(Beirut) – Turkey and the Syrian National Army have arrested and illegally transferred at least 63 Syrian nationals from northeast Syria to Turkey to face trial on serious charges that could lead to life in prison, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Fighters of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (also called the Syrian National Army) enter the town of Tal Abyad.
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Lack of Access, Damaged Infrastructure, Bias Pose Rollout Risk

(Beirut) – International aid groups should have support to secure the widest and most equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines possible across Syria, including all areas controlled by different groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Although the…
A medic checks the temperature of a man inside a health isolation centre which has been established on the Syrian-Turkish borders in order to place people coming from Turkey to Idlib as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19.
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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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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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Countries Should Bring Their Citizens Home, Improve Detention Sites

(Beirut) – A Kurdish-led armed group backed by the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is detaining thousands of Syrian and foreign men and boys in severely overcrowded informal detention centers in northeast…
Detainees in what The Times of London describes as an informal detention center for Islamic State (ISIS) suspects in northeast Syria.
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Past Inquiries Named Responsible Parties

For years, hospitals in Syria have been getting bombed. These attacks continue even though the UN collected the locations of these protected sites and shared them with the warring parties in hope of shielding them from the crossfire.…
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, February 10, 2017.
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More International Support Needed for Clearance

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including more than 150 children, in Raqqa, Syria since the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) was pushed out of the city in October 2017, Human Rights Watch…
Warning about mines written on outside wall of building in Raqqa, Syria, January 21, 2018.
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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Many Countries Call for Law to Keep Human Control

(Geneva) – Countries meeting in Geneva on November 13-24, 2017, missed a chance to move ahead to prevent the development of weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, Human Rights…
As the debate about “killer robots” continues, the threat they pose looms large.
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Detainee Rights, Indiscriminate Attacks, Treatment of Displaced People

(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and other local armed groups should make protecting civilians and respect for human rights a priority in the offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
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Security Forces, Prisoners, Women, Among Those Executed

(Erbil) – The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) executed and dumped the bodies of possibly hundreds of detainees at a site near Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the bodies of those killed,…
‘Hammam al-Alil mass grave marked and fenced’ Caption: A marked and fenced ISIS mass grave in Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, discovered in November 2016.
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UN General Assembly Should Organize Emergency Special Session

(New York) – The Russian-Syrian coalition committed war crimes during a month-long aerial bombing campaign of opposition-controlled territory in Aleppo in September and October 2016. The Violations Documentation Center…
Ruins of a residential house that was struck in an aerial attack, killing at least 24 civilians, on September 27, 2016.
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Lessons for Impending Battles in Iraq and Syria

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, in Manbij, a city in northern Syria. The antipersonnel mines, often called improvised explosive devices, were planted by the…
A family member stands next to the graves of three children who were killed when an explosive device planted by ISIS in a school in Manbij detonated on September 27.
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Iraqi forces trying to take back Mosul must learn the lessons of Manbij, where returnees face booby traps.

Twelve-year old Aqil Hammud’s legs and arms were riddled with painful scars. Bits of fragments from the improvised explosive device that exploded underneath him on that hot June day were still lodged in his sun-tanned skin. He and four…
2)	Zakia Hassan holds a photo of her son, Ibrahim Hammud, 35, who detonated an explosive device when he stepped on a mattress as he returned to his house on August 12.
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Warring Parties Should Prioritize Protecting Civilians

(New York) – An attack on a United Nations aid convoy and on a Red Crescent warehouse in Aleppo should be investigated as possible war crimes. The apparent airstrikes on September 19, 2016, hit the convoy and building for over three hours with no military…
Damaged medical supplies after an airstrike on Urm al-Kubra town, western Aleppo city, Syria September 20, 2016
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Despite Promises, Syrian Officials Withhold Permits

Convoys filled with lifesaving aid stand idle on the Syria-Turkish border. The Syrian government has failed to issue permits to the United Nations to access and distribute aid to opposition-held Aleppo. The UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland also blamed…
Commercial Turkish trucks wait to cross to Syria near the Cilvegozu border gate, located opposite the Syrian commercial crossing point Bab al-Hawa in Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey, September 16, 2016.
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UN Should Build Case to Prosecute

(New York) – Syrian and Russian military attacks on hospitals in recent weeks during the government air campaign in the Aleppo region are causing deaths and injuries and shutting down medical facilities. The United Nations Security Council should ask the…
Men and civil defence members look for survivors after an airstrike on a hospital in the town of Meles, western Idlib city in opposition armed forces-held Idlib province, Syria on August 6, 2016.