SNHR Documented 59 Massacres and 159 Persons Who Died due to Torture
The SNHR announced in its report released today that at least 1,864 Civilians Including Six Media Workers and 21 Medical and Civil Defense Personnel, Documented Killed in Syria in the First Half of 2019, in addition to 159 persons who died due to torture at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria. The 26-page report states that the crime of murder has become widespread and systematic, mainly at the hands of Syrian regime forces and their affiliated militias, adding that the entry of several parties into the Syrian conflict has increased the importance and complexity of documenting the victims killed in Syria. The report notes that since 2011, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has created complex electronic programs to archive and categorize the victims’ data, enabling the network to catalogue victims according to the gender and location where each was killed, the governorate from which each victim originally came, and the party responsible for the killing, and to make comparisons between these parties, and identify the governorates which lost the largest proportion of residents. The report catalogues the death toll of victims according to the governorate in which they were killed, rather than by the governorate they originally came from
This report records the death toll of victims documented killed by the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria in May and in the first half of 2019, particularly focusing on the victims amongst children and women, those who died due to torture, and victims amongst media and medical personnel, paying particular attention to the massacres committed by the main perpetrator parties to the conflict over the past month.
The report includes the distribution of the death toll of victims killed by each of the main perpetrator parties in the Syrian conflict, noting that in regard to joint attacks, when SNHR is unable to definitively assign responsibility for specific attacks to one specific party, as in the case of air strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes, Syrian-Iranian attacks, or attacks by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and International Coalition forces, we indicate that responsibility for these attacks is held jointly by the parties in question until we are able to establish with a high degree of probability which one of the parties was responsible, or it’s proved that the attack was a joint initiative carried out in coordination between the two parties.
The report draws upon the ongoing daily monitoring of news and developments, and on an extensive network of relations with various sources, in addition to analyzing a large number of photographs and videos.
The report records the deaths of 1,864 civilians in the first half of 2019, including 468 children and 285 women (adult female). This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with 891 of the civilians, including 211 children and 136 women, killed at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while 149 civilians, including 34 children and 21 women, were killed at the hands of Russian forces, and 107 civilians were killed at the hands of Extremist Islamist groups, of whom ISIS killed 82 civilian, including 11 children and seven women, while Hay’at Tahrir al Sham killed 25 civilians, including four children. The report also documents the deaths of 14 civilians, including six children and one woman at the hands of factions of the Armed Opposition, while Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces killed 99 civilians, including 33 children and 10 women. The report also documents 73 civilians, including 28 children and three women, killed at the hands of other parties. The report also documents the deaths of 64 civilians, including 20 children and 17 women, at the hands of International Coalition forces in the first half of 2019, while 540 civilians, including 149 children and 93 women, were killed at the hands of other parties.
According to the report, the SNHR’s Victim Documentation team documented in June the deaths of 347 civilians, including 91 children and 39 women (adult female). This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with 321 of the civilians, including 59 children and 32 women, killed at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while six civilians were killed at the hands of Russian forces, and 17 civilians were killed at the hands of Extremist Islamist groups, of whom ISIS killed nine civilian, including two children and one woman, while Hay’at Tahrir al Sham killed eight civilians. The report also documents the death of one civilian at the hands of International Coalition forces, while 92 civilians, including 30 children and six women, killed at the hands of other parties.
The report records that among the victims were 15 of the medical personnel killed in the first half of 2019, 11 of whom were killed by Syrian Regime forces, while International Coalition forces and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham killed one each, and two were killed at the hands of other parties. According to the report, four medical personnel were documented killed in June, three of whom at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, and one at the hands of other parties. The report also records that Six of the media workers were killed in the first half of 2019, four of whom at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while Russian forces and other parties each killed one media worker each. According to the report, two media workers were documented killed in June, one of whom at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, and the other at the hands of other parties.
The report records that Six of the Civil Defense personnel were killed in the first half of 2019, one of whom at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, one at the hands of other parties, and four at the hands of Russian forces. According to the report, two Civil Defense personnel were documented killed in June at the hands Russian forces.
According to the report, the SNHR’s working team documented at least 159 individuals died due to torture in the first half of 2019; 142 of these victims died at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while Hay’at Tahrir al Sham and factions of the Armed Opposition killed three each, seven at the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces, and four at the hands of other parties. According to the report, 18 individuals were documented killed as a result of torture in June, all of whom at the hands of Syrian Regime forces.
The report also documents 59 massacres in the first half of 2019, using the term ‘massacre’ to refer to an attack that caused the death of at least five peaceful individuals in the same incident. According to this definition, the report records 23 massacres committed by Syrian Regime forces, eight by Russian forces, six by Syrian Democratic Forces, three by International Coalition forces, and 19 massacres committed by other parties. The report also documents 12 massacres in June, 10 of which at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while the other two at the hands of other parties.
The report stresses that the Syrian government has violated international humanitarian law and customary law, and all UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution number 2139, resolution number 2042, and resolution number 2254, all without any accountability. The report notes that there is no record of any warnings being issued by the Syrian Regime or Russian forces prior to any attack in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law. This has been the case since the beginning of the popular uprising for freedom, providing another blatant demonstration of these forces’ total disregard for the lives of civilians in Syria.
According to the report, Extremist Islamist groups have violated international humanitarian law by killing civilians, while the indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment carried out by an alliance of forces comprising International Coalition forces and Syrian Democratic Forces is considered a violation of customary international humanitarian law, inadvertently causing loss of civilian lives or injuries to civilians.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps following its adoption of Resolution 2254, and stresses the importance of referring the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court, adding that all those who are responsible should be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven. The report also requests that all relevant United Nations agencies make greater efforts to provide food, medical and humanitarian assistance in areas where fighting has ceased, and in internally displaced persons camps, and to follow up with those States that have pledged voluntary contributions.
The report calls for the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after all political channels have proved fruitless through all agreements, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and implement the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.
The report calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations into the cases included in this report and previous reports, and confirms the SNHR’s willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data.
The report also calls on the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria to condemn the perpetrators of crimes and massacres and those who were primarily responsible for dooming the de-escalation agreements to failure, to re-sequence the peace process so that it can resume its natural course despite Russia’s attempts to divert and distort it, and to empower the Constitutional Commission prior to the establishment of a transitional government.
The report emphasizes that the Russian regime must launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, and hold the people involved accountable, as well as demanding that the Russian regime, as a guarantor party in Astana talks, should stop thwarting de-escalation agreements.
The report also stresses that the Syrian regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, as well as ending the acts of torture that have caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian citizens in detention centers, and complying with UN Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law.
The report also calls on the International Coalition forces to acknowledge that some of their bombing operations have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, and demands that the coalition launch serious investigations, as well as compensating and apologizing to the victims and all those affected.
The report stresses that the states supporting the SDF should apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns under their control, adding that all forms of support, military and all others, should be ceased.
The report calls on the Armed Opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all areas under their control, and urges them to investigate incidents that have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as calling on them to take care to distinguish between civilians and military targets and to cease any indiscriminate attacks.
Lastly, the report stresses the need for international organizations to develop urgent operational plans to secure decent shelter for internally displaced persons.