Killing in Syria Continues Even During the Holy Months
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced in its monthly report released today that 101 civilians were killed in Syria in April 2022, including 17 children, 14 women, and six individuals who died as a result of torture, with the report further noting that killing in Syria continues even during the holy months.
The 18-page report details the death toll of victims documented killed by the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in April 2022, particularly focusing on those victims killed under torture, and victims amongst medical personnel, detailing the most notable incidents. 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.
The report notes that April this year coincided with the month of Ramadan, which is a holy month for Muslims worldwide, with Islam being the religion of the majority of the Syrian people. April also witnessed the Easter holidays. As the report adds, the continuing killing and persecution of civilians and targeting of their places of worship during this sacred period constitute two-fold violations, indicating contempt for religious belief, as well as for the victims, in addition to intensifying sectarian tension and societal division. The report stresses that the parties to the conflict in Syria must respect the sanctity of the month of Ramadan and stop committing violations against civilians during this period, and, even if they do not stop their violations, then at a minimum reduce their extent. Despite the sacred nature of this period, however, the SNHR’s Victims Documentation Team’s daily monitoring and follow-up showed that extrajudicial killings continued throughout all the days of Ramadan just as at all other times. Since Ramadan 1, 1943, corresponding to April 2, 2022, report documents the deaths of at least 89 civilians, including 14 children and 12 women (adult female).
Meanwhile, the report reveals that the death toll of victims who were killed during the months of Ramadan from 2011 to 2022 according to the SNHR’s database reached at least 19,281 civilians, including 2,728 children and 2,365 women (adult female), killed at the hands of the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria, of whom 16,141 were killed by Syrian regime forces, accounting for 84% of the death toll documented in the months of Ramadan.
As the report reveals, April saw an increase in the death toll compared to the previous month, with the total number of documented civilian victims reaching 101, including 17 children and 14 women, nine of whom were killed by Syrian regime forces.
The report documents the deaths of 81 killed at the hands of other parties in April, which also saw the continuation of civilian casualties as a result of landmine explosions in different governorates and regions of Syria; the report also documented the deaths of 13 civilians, including four children and two women, as a result of landmine explosions, bringing the death toll resulting from the explosion of landmines since the beginning of 2022, to 51 civilians, including 24 children and four women. The report also documents the deaths of eight civilians, including one child, as a result of bombings whose perpetrators SNHR has not yet been able to identify. The report adds that it also documents the deaths of 46 civilians, including four children and eight women, due to gunfire by parties which SNHR has not yet been able to identify; the governorates of Daraa and Hasaka saw the deaths of 15 civilians, while seven others were killed in Deir Ez-Zour, six in Suwayda, two in Aleppo, and one in Homs.
The report documents the deaths of 101 civilians, including 17 children and 15 women (adult female), killed at the hands of the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in April 2022. This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with nine of the civilian victims, including five children, killed at the hands of Syrian regime forces, and four civilians, including one child, killed at the hands of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham. In addition, SNHR also documented the deaths of two civilians killed at the hands of all Armed Opposition factions/Syrian National Army, while five civilians were killed at the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces personnel, and 81 civilians, including 11 children and 14 women, were killed at the hands of other parties.
As the report reveals, analysis of the data for this period shows that Daraa governorate saw the largest death toll compared to other Syrian governorates, accounting for approximately 26% of the total death toll documented in April, followed by Hasaka governorate with approximately 21%, then Aleppo and Idlib governorates with approximately 14%.
The report reveals that among the victims was one medical worker who was killed as a result of a bombing whose perpetrators SNHR has been unable to identify.
The report further reveals that the SNHR team documented the deaths of six individuals due to torture in April 2022; three of these victims died at the hands of Syrian regime forces, and three at the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces.
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 comply 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.
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