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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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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.
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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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(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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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…
201911arms_iw_syria
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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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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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
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Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
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UN Should Immediately Deploy Monitors to Prevent Reprisal Executions

(Beirut) – With Russia’s continued support, the Syrian government is using unlawful tactics in its assault on Eastern Ghouta, including what appears to be the use of internationally banned weapons, Human Rights Watch said today. There…
People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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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
Video
Syrian government and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb approximately 15 kilometers from the center of Syria’s capital, Damascus, killing dozens of civilians in apparently unlawful attacks. Syrian forces have…
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Allow Urgent Aid into Besieged Eastern Ghouta and End Indiscriminate Attacks

(Beirut) – Syrian government and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb approximately 15 kilometers from the center of Syria’s capital Damascus, killing dozens of civilians in apparently unlawful…
Children in the rubble of damaged buildings in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria.
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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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Syrians Under Siege, Airstrikes as Leaders Gather in Sochi

(Beirut) – Russia, Turkey, and Iran should make protecting civilians a priority when they meet in Sochi, Russia on November 22, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Recent airstrikes by the Russian-Syrian joint military operation that…
The Atarib public market after the strike