The Beginning of Another Bloody Year Doesn’t Differ from Previous Years
Press release (Link below to download full report):
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced in its monthly report released today that 69 civilians have been killed in Syria in January 2022, including 18 children, four women and eight individuals due to torture, noting that the beginning of another bloody year doesn’t differ from those in previous years.
The 25-page report details the death toll of victims documented killed by the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in January 2022, particularly focusing on those victims killed under torture, and victims amongst medical personnel, paying particular attention to the massacres committed by the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in this period. The report also provides details of the most notable work carried out by SNHR concerning the issue of extrajudicial killing.
The report draws upon the ongoing daily monitoring of news and developments, and on SNHR’s extensive network of relations with various sources, in addition to the analysis of a large number of photographs and videos.
As the report documents, the early hours of New Year 2022 saw Russian forces launching air raids targeting residential areas, in addition to targeting IDP tents, resulting in the deaths and injury of civilians. Syrian regime forces also continued bombing civilian-populated areas.
Meanwhile, the report adds that 48 civilians (69% of the death toll documented in January) were killed at the hands of other parties.
As the report reveals, January also saw continuing civilian deaths as a result of landmine explosions in different governorates and regions of Syria, with SNHR documenting the deaths of four civilians, including three children, as a result if landmine explosions.
As the report reveals, killings by gunfire perpetrated by unknown gunmen who SNHR has thus far been unable to identify also continued in several governorates. The report documents the deaths of 24 civilians in such incidents.
The report documents the deaths of 69 civilians, including 18 children and four women (adult female), killed at the hands of the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in January 2022. This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with eight of the civilian victims, including one child, killed at the hands of Syrian regime forces, and three civilians (one female child and two women) killed at the hands of Russian forces. In addition, SNHR also documented the deaths of four civilians (two children and two women) killed at the hands of all Armed Opposition factions/ Syrian National Army forces, while six civilians, including one woman, were killed at the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces personnel, and 48 civilians, including 13 children, killed at the hands of other parties.
As the report reveals, analysis of the data for this period shows that Aleppo governorate saw the largest death toll compared to other Syrian governorates, accounting for 27% of the total death toll documented in January, followed by Daraa governorate with 22%, then Idlib with 19%.
The report reveals that among the victims were two medical personnel who were killed at the hands of other parties.
The report further reveals that the SNHR’s working team documented the deaths of eight individuals due to torture in January 2022; seven of these victims died at the hands of Syrian regime forces, while one died at the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces.
The report also documents one massacre in January 2022, caused by shelling whose source SNHR has so far been unable to identify, which targeted Afrin city center in the northwestern suburbs of Aleppo governorate, with the term ‘massacre’ used to refer to any attack that caused the death of at least five peaceful individuals in the same incident.
As the report notes, the evidence collected by SNHR indicates that some of the attacks documented in the report were deliberately directed against civilians and civilian objects. These attacks along with indiscriminate bombardment have resulted in the destruction of facilities and buildings. The report notes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crime of attacking civilians has been committed in many cases.
The report calls on the UN 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 involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes should be held accountable.
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’ doctrine (R2P) after all political channels have proved fruitless throughout all the agreements reached, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and to implement the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.
The report further recommends that the international community should work to launch projects to create maps revealing the locations of landmines and cluster munitions in all Syrian governorates. This would facilitate the process of clearing them and educating the population about their locations.
The report additionally calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) 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, as well as calling them on to focus on the issue of landmines and cluster munitions within the next report.
The report also stresses that the Syrian regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting of residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, as well as ending its 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 stresses that the states supporting the SDF should cease all forms of support until the SDF commits itself to complying with the rules of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
The report further recommends that the Armed Opposition and Syrian National Army must ensure the protection of civilians in all areas under their control, and must take great care to distinguish between civilians and military targets and cease any indiscriminate attacks
Lastly, the report calls on all the parties to the conflict to provide detailed maps of the locations where they have planted landmines, especially civilian sites or areas near residential communities, as well as making several additional recommendations.