Ten Years of war
On the ten-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising and civil war, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) makes clear its continuing support for any effort to hold to account both the Syrian regime and various armed factions for the numerous human-rights violations perpetrated against the people of Syria over the last decade.
Protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad began in the southern city of Daraa in March 2011 and quickly spread across the country. The regime met the uprising with great brutality, and by 2012 the country was in a state of civil war.
Since then, at least 117,000 civilians have been killed in battle-related deaths, more than half of whom were killed by the Syrian regime. In addition, 2 million civilians have been injured, many suffering permanent disabilities.
The regime, still led by Bashar al-Assad, is widely acknowledged to have committed grave and systematic human-rights violations.
Infamous examples include the regime’s continuous targetting of civilain infrastructure (markets, hospitals, schools) with barrel bombs, amongst other weapons; the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population of Douma in 2018; and the industrial-scale torture of opponents in its prisons, as documented by the ‘Ceaser’ photographic collection. A German court recently accepted the Caesar cache as legitimate evidence in the trial of two former regime officials.
The Syrian regime was not the only force to commit such violations. Daesh, which operated openly in Syria between 2014-2019, will remain infamous for its numerous terrible crimes against the people of Syria. Several other armed factions must be held accountable for their own human-rights record.
Yet the regime remains the worst perpetrator; every effort must be made to expose its crimes. It is currently attempting to re-make Syria itself, with various laws allowing the expropriation of Syrians who chose not to take up arms against the uprising. The fate of over 5 million Internally Displaced People’s, and of the 5.5 million refugees who fled the country, is far from assured.