Members of the Syrian regime’s ‘National Defense Forces’ militia in a Syrian city
Paris – A statement by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR):
The SNHR documented that a woman from al Halat village, which is administratively a part of Talkalakh town in the northern suburbs of Homs, was kidnapped by a group affiliated with the Syrian regime’s ‘National Defense Forces’ militia on June 1, 2022, while she was on her way to her workplace in an agricultural area in Talbisa city in the northern suburbs of Homs. A number of local people told us that they found her the next day in Talbisa, lying unconscious on the road.
The woman was taken to a medical center, where the medical report indicated that she had been tortured and raped. After collecting a large quantity of data and details concerning this brutal crime, SNHR has been able to identify two of the perpetrators, a National Defense Forces leader and a lower-ranking member of the militia.
Syrian regime forces have systematically committed acts of sexual violence, utilizing this as an effective tool of torture or as a form of punishment, and to spread fear, intimidation, and humiliation in society, with these crimes motivated in many cases by sectarianism or in retribution for dissent. The regime’s forces have empowered their members to inflict torture with impunity, without fear of any form of deterrence or punishment, especially in the areas of Syria that witnessed an anti-regime movement or broke free of the regime’s control; this indicates the tacit approval of the higher-ranking officers directly responsible for these members and groups. The SNHR has documented at least 8,013 incidents of sexual violence against females at the hands of Syrian regime forces between March 2011 and March 2022.
The SNHR condemns all forms of sexual violence and torture perpetrated by Syrian regime forces. International law absolutely prohibits all forms of sexual violence and criminalizes all forms of violence against women, including physical and psychological violence, as a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The SNHR also calls for the compliance with Security Council resolutions related to the Syrian conflict and Security Council resolutions related to the role of the parties to the conflict in protecting women from sexual violence, and for respect for the role of women in participating in various political and societal fields, in particular Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1889, 1960, 2122, 2467. The SNHR also calls for taking all possible legal, political, and financial measures against the Syrian regime and its allies.