Bombing of Daraa, Syria credit: The New York Times
Syria Country Report
The Assad regime has committed genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes against the Syrian people. In 2022, the United Nations (UN) estimated death toll was 306,000 civilians during the 11 year-long Syrian civil war.
Security forces have killed from 13,000 - 30,000 people in torture and extermination prisons. The UN reports the regime has detained over 132,000 prisoners, including 1,024 in 2022. Assad denies Syria has any political prisoners.
The Assad regime was responsible for 98% of the 336 verified incidents of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. These chemical attacks killed more than 1,510 people and maimed 12,000. The Syrian and Russian air forces have bombed numerous civilian schools and hospitals. They conducted at least 58 "double tap" bombing attacks that target medical teams responding to first strikes. The Assad regime blocks UN aid deliveries to rebel-occupied cities.
Syrian rebel forces include both terrorist and non-terrorist organizations. In Idlib, Al Qaeda affiliates arrested 57 individuals in 2021 and summarily executed many of their captives. The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (TFSA) has detained and tortured 8,590 people in secret prisons in Turkish-controlled areas. The TFSA drove Kurds and Yazidis out of Afrin in 2018 and desecrated sacred Yazidi sites.
Murder in Syria by State Security police is never punished. Credit: Agence France Presse
Not all crimes against humanity are committed by the Assad regime. The U.S-backed military of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (ANNES), the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has detained, disappeared, tortured, or killed 3,000 civilians for criticizing the SDF. Children are kidnapped for enlistment, with 537 verified cases by 2021. The SDF controls the displaced persons camp al-Hol for ISIS detainees, where people cannot leave without permission. In 2021, 79 people were killed at the al-Hol camp. The SDF separates children from their mothers and transfers children to “re-education” camps because of "potential ISIS radicalization.”
Foreign nations are contributing to the prolonged humanitarian crises in Syria. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel fight proxy wars against each other in Syria. Russia has conducted 1,418 airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian structures since 2015. In July 2022, Russia vetoed the extension of cross border aid, only allowing for six months of aid that 4.1 million Syrians in rebel-held areas depend on. The U.S has conducted air and drone strikes in Syria that have resulted in dozens of civilian casualities.
Turkey regularly launches strikes in Syria to “neutralize terrorists” yet most of the victims are Kurdish civilians. Turkey's invasion of northern Syria in 2019 killed thousands of Kurds. In July 2022, Turkey told the U.S to remove US troops from northern Syria. Turkey is sending military reinforcements to Northern Syria for another invasion.
Genocide Watch considers Syria to be at Stage 9: Extermination and Stage 10: Denial of the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed by the Assad regime, Russia and Turkey.
Genocide Watch Recommends:
· The U.S should reinforce, not withdraw, its remaining troops in northern Syria.
· If Turkey expands its invasion of Northern Syria, Turkey should be suspended from NATO.
· The European Union (EU) should offer Syrian refugees the same protection it has given Ukrainian refugees. Ukrainian refugees have permission to stay in the EU for one year and can enter the labor market.
· The UN Security Council should call for reopening the border crossings that Russia eliminated for UN aid.
· The UN Human Rights Council and ICRC should acquire the names and reasons for arrest and demand the release of prisoners in President Assad’s torture and extermination prisons.
· The UN General Assembly should establish a special tribunal to try Syrians who have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Nations with universal jurisdiction should also try them.
· The UN and Assad’s allies Russia, Iran, and China should demand that Syria cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and destroy all Syrian chemical weapons.
· The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs should strengthen protection of humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria, and ensure aid is not blocked from reaching rebel held cities.