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Joint Statement

We, the undersigned analysts, researchers, and other experts on the Syrian context, strongly condemn the Danish government’s decision to remove “temporary protection” for Syrian refugees from Damascus. This decision used our testimonies to the Danish…
Syrian refugees hold banners outside the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, protesting Denmark's asylum policies towards those who fled Syria's civil war, September 26, 2012.
News

New Policy Forcibly Returns Thousands, No Due Process

(Beirut) – At least three Syrians deported by Lebanon’s General Security back to Syria have been detained by the authorities upon their return. General Security said it deported 2,731 Syrians between May 21 and August 28, 2019, following its May 13…
Members of the Lebanese General Security Directorate oversee Syrian refugees boarding a bus to take them home to Syria, in the northern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
News

Idlib Attacks Reaffirm Need for Civilian Protection

(Beirut) – A November 24, 2018 attack by Syrian government forces near an elementary school that killed six children, a teacher, and a student’s mother, appears to have been unlawful and indiscriminate. All parties to the conflict,…
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News

New Arrivals Deported, Coerced Back to Syria

(Istanbul) – Turkish authorities in Istanbul and nine provinces on or near the Syrian border have stopped registering all but a handful of recently arrived Syrian asylum seekers. The suspension is leading to unlawful deportations, coerced returns…
Two Syrians walk along a fence near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey on November 30, 2016.
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
News

Russian Supreme Court Says There is No War in Syria, Nothing to Flee From

Despite eight years of civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and ravaged Syria, Russia’s Supreme Court incredulously declared that Zakria Timbut has nothing to fear in returning to his homeland. Fearing for his life…
A woman walks with a child amid rubble at Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria July 16, 2017.
News
  Some politicians in Lebanon, host to the world’s largest per capita refugee population, are looking for signs that it may be safe for Syrian refugees to go home, even as the violence there continues.  Seven years into the Syria…
Bar Elias, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, has become home to Syrian refugees who were evicted from the Rayak air base, and have settled here in informal encampments.
News

Expulsions by Municipalities Appear Discriminatory, Lack Due Process

  (Beirut) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, while another 42,000…
A clothesline in an informal tent settlement in Bar Elias, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon. Refugees evicted from the Rayak air base area settled here in January 2018. The refugees say there was no procedure, no written notice, no opportunity to discuss or cha
News

Focus on Justice, Refugees, Education

(Brussels) - The Friends of Syria Group meeting in Brussels on April 24-25, 2018, should address the war crimes and impunity that characterize the Syria conflict and meet urgent protection and humanitarian needs, Human Rights Watch said…
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
News
At a border crossing between Syria and Turkey, a smuggler preparing  a group of seven Syrian asylum seekers to enter Turkey told a 13-year-old boy  to cross. He pointed toward the other side of a wide street, and said, ”See there? Run…
Syrians run as they flee from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain to Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province
News

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
News

EU Should Raise Issue, Pledge Aid at Conference

(Brussels) – Turkish security forces have routinely intercepted hundreds, and at times thousands, of asylum seekers at the Turkey-Syria border since at least December 2017 and summarily deported them to the war-ravaged Idlib governorate in Syria,…
A Turkish soldier surveys the border line between Turkey and Syria near the city of Kilis, March 2, 2017.
News

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.
News

Exposes Asylum Seekers to Further Risk, Abuse

(Beirut) – Guards at Turkey’s closed border with Syria are indiscriminately shooting at and summarily returning Syrian asylum seekers attempting to cross into Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today. Syrians are fleeing…
A wall along the border between Turkey and Syria is seen in Kilis province, Turkey.
News
(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
News

UN Security Council Should Act on Eastern Ghouta Situation

(New York) – Attacks by Syrian-Russian forces in an area near the Damascus in late October and early November 2017 killed eight children and destroyed or damaged four schools, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks on Eastern Ghouta…
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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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…
News
In a no man's land along the Syria-Jordan border, an estimated 55,000 Syrians escaped the horrors of Syria's conflict only to languish, abandoned in the desert as one country after another evades responsibility for their safety and…
Syrian refugees carry belongings as they return to Syria after crossing the Jordanian border near the town of Nasib, in the southern province of Daraa, on August 29, 2017.
News

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.
News

Swedish and German Authorities Pursuing Cases for War Crimes in Syria

What kind of cases have been brought to trial so far? To date, seven cases for war crimes in Syria were brought to trial, three in Sweden and four in Germany. These few cases have mostly been against members of the Islamic State [ISIS], Jabhat…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch