The COI Report Confirms that Torture is still Being Practiced in Syria in a Systematic and Widespread Manner Against Both Residents and Returnees

SNHR Has Worked with the COI Since 2011, Contributing to All its Reports by Providing Hundreds of Items of Evidence and Interviews with Survivors and Eyewitnesses

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On July 15, 2023, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI) released a report entitled, ‘No End in Sight’ that focuses on the issue of torture and ill-treatment in Syria. The report, which covers the period between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2023 sheds light on the fact that numerous patterns of torture, and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment continue to be perpetrated in a systematic and widespread manner in the Syrian Arab Republic, including enforced disappearance practices, in detention facilities. The report reiterates that arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment continue to be major issues that threaten the lives of individuals living in the areas under the Syrian regime’s control, including those areas over which which the regime regained control in recent years, as well as threatening the lives of Syrian citizens returning to the country. The report underlines this crucial fact amid mounting pressures on Syrian refugees and asylum seekers to return to Syria from their host countries.

The report focuses on the abuses in regime detention centers, as well as those perpetrated by three other non-state parties, namely Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Syrian National Army (SNA), and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Moreover, the report draws upon 254 interviews conducted during the period which it covers. Of these interviews, 107 were conducted with people who endured torture themselves or were eyewitnesses to torture in regime detention centers, while 105 other interviews concerned the detention practices of the other parties. More particularly, the report focuses on the Syrian regime’s four main agencies, namely the Air Force Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Political Security and General Intelligence Directorates, as well as the Criminal Security department affiliated with the regime’s police and military prisons. Each of those four intelligence agencies, the report notes, operates multiple operational centers in Damascus that serve as their central headquarters, in addition to overseeing other branches across Syria, in which hundreds of detainees are held. The report also lists the detention centers which it covers that are operated by the other parties to the conflict.

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