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Syria

    August 29, 2017
      The Syrian government and armed groups involved in the country’s conflict must disclose the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of people who have been forcibly disappeared or abducted since the onset of the crisis in 2011, said Amnesty International on the International Day of the Disappeared.   “Amid the brutality and bloodshed of the Syrian conflict, the plight of those who have vanished after being arrested by the authorities or detained by armed groups is a tragedy that has been largely ignored internationally. Tens of thousands of families have been desperately trying to uncover the fate of their missing relatives,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.   “Russia and the United States, in particular, must use their influence to pressure respectively the Syrian government and armed opposition groups to grant independent monitors access to places of detention, disclose the names and whereabouts of those deprived of their liberty, and allow all detainees to communicate with their families.”  
    August 23, 2017

    Thousands of civilians trapped in Raqqa, northern Syria, are coming under fire from all sides as the battle for control of the city enters its final stage, Amnesty International said following an in-depth investigation on the ground. The warring parties must prioritize protecting them from hostilities and creating safe ways for them to flee the frontline.

    In a report released today, the organization documents how hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured since an offensive began in June to recapture the “capital” and main stronghold of the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they faced IS booby traps and snipers targeting anyone trying to flee, as well as a constant barrage of artillery strikes and airstrikes by the US-led coalition forces fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) armed group. At the same time, survivors recounted how Russian-backed Syrian government forces also bombarded civilians in villages and camps south of the river, including with internationally banned cluster bombs.

    August 02, 2017
      Responding to news of the execution of Syrian-Palestinian human rights activist Bassel Khartabil today, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said:   “We are deeply saddened and outraged at this awful news. Bassel Khartabil will always be remembered as a symbol of courage, who peacefully fought for freedom to the very end. Our thoughts are with his family.   “Bassel Khartabil’s death is a grim reminder of the horrors that take place in Syrian prisons every day. The tens of thousands of people currently locked away inside Syrian government detention facilities face torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial executions. These cruel acts undoubtedly amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”  
    July 25, 2017
      The Lebanese authorities must disclose the full findings of their investigation into the deaths of four Syrian refugees, said Amnesty International, after the country’s military prosecutor yesterday revealed that a forensic report concluded that they had died of “natural causes”. The men died after they were arrested in a military raid on the town of Arsal on 30 June 2017.   Forensic analysis of photographs showing the bodies of three of the four deceased men, commissioned by Amnesty International, reveals signs of recent beatings and trauma to the head, legs and arms suggesting they may have been tortured. “It is extremely important for the full findings of the forensic report commissioned by the military prosecutor to be made public and accessible to the lawyers and families of the victims,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.  
    July 18, 2017
      Responding to a statement by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announcing an imminent security operation in the outskirts of the town of Arsal, in northeast Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Middle-East Director of Research for Amnesty International said:   “It is of utmost importance for the Lebanese army and other sides involved in the fighting in Arsal to prioritize the protection of Lebanese residents as well as Syrian refugees in the area. They must refrain from using lethal force except when it is unavoidable for self-defence or defence of others against threats of death and serious injury. Thousands of lives are on the line.   “Syrian refugees in Arsal are living in extremely harsh conditions in packed tented settlements. The Lebanese army must ensure that the operation is carried out in a manner that protects the right to life and other human rights. Use of explosive weapons in these circumstances would be contrary to Lebanon’s obligations under international law and likely to lead to arbitrary deaths.  
    July 06, 2017
      The lives of millions of Syrian civilians hang in the balance as the Presidents of Russia and the USA prepare to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany on 7 July 2017, to discuss counter-terrorism initiatives and a political resolution to Syria’s war, said Amnesty International. “For civilians in Syria, decisions made by President Trump and President Putin are a matter of life and death. A continuation of present policies would have disastrous consequences for the people of Syria, who have endured unimaginable suffering for more than six years,” said Samah Hadid, Middle East Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International.   “The USA and Russia must publicly commit to protecting civilians in Syria and to ending violations by their own forces as well as by the warring parties on the ground. Both countries and their allies are responsible for the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. It is time to end the bloodshed.”
    June 15, 2017

    Ahead of the appeal against a 10-year sentence handed down to a Syrian man for committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., was convicted in November. Ahmed admitted to throwing three objects at the Hungarian police during the clashes.

    “The conviction of Ahmed H was a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions against a man who was helping his family flee Syria,” said Todor Gardos, Amnesty International’s Hungary researcher.

    “This absurd verdict reflects the febrile atmosphere in Hungary where anti-terror powers have been ramped up amid a crackdown on the rights of migrants. Ahmed’s actions cannot credibly constitute an act of terrorism and his conviction should bequashed.”

    Follow Amnesty International’s researchers@todorgardos and @demeteraaronfor updates.

    April 05, 2017

    Evidence gathered is suggesting a nerve agent was used in an air-launched chemical attack which killed more than 70 and injured hundreds of civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s northern province of Idleb, Amnesty International revealed as the UN Security Council meets for an emergency meeting in New York this morning.

    The organization is urging the Security Council to immediately adopt a resolution that will enforce the prohibition of chemical weapons attacks and facilitate bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

    “Security Council members, and in particular Russia and China, have displayed callous disregard for human life in Syria by repeatedly failing to pass resolutions that would allow for punitive measures to be taken against those committing war crimes and other serious violations in Syria,” said Anna Neistat, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International.

    February 06, 2017

    A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. In five years, as many as 13,000 people, most of them civilians believed to be opposed to the government, were hanged in secret at Saydnaya.

    Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria also shows that the government is deliberately inflicting inhuman conditions on detainees at Saydnaya Prison through repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care. The report documents how these extermination policies have killed massive numbers of detainees.

    These practices, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, are authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

    October 19, 2016

    The UN General Assembly (UNGA) must step in to fill the void left by the UN Security Council members’ catastrophic failure to end relentless attacks targeting the civilian population in eastern Aleppo city, said Amnesty International ahead of a UNGA meeting later today.

    The organization has released new satellite imagery illustrating the scale of destruction, as well as testimony from civilians trapped in the city, providing evidence that Syrian government forces, with Russian support, have callously attacked residential homes, medical facilities, schools, markets and mosques as part of a deliberate military strategy to empty the city of its inhabitants and seize control. In some cases there is evidence that Russian-made cluster munitions were used in attacks.

    October 04, 2016

    Syria should immediately release the Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha, 31 human rights organizations said today, on the fourth anniversary of their enforced disappearance.

    On October 2, 2012, the two men are believed to have been arrested at a government-operated checkpoint on their way from Ma’touq’s home in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya to his office in Damascus.  Despite repeated requests for information to the public prosecutor’s office in Damascus in 2012 and 2013 by family and colleagues, Syrian authorities have denied that they arrested the men.

    Despite these denials, individuals released from the government’s custody in 2015 have informed Ma’touq’s family that while in detention they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities, including State Security Branch 285 and Military Intelligence Branch 235 in Damascus. Since then, the family has not received any information on his whereabouts. 

    February 16, 2016

    "Mohammad" arrived at the Canada-US at Fort Erie in early January.  He is a 16 year old boy from Syria who came to Canada looking for protection.  It is reported that he was immediately detained and held in isolation in an immigration holding centre in Toronto for three weeks. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has ordered that he be deported back to the United States.  According to the Canada-US ‘Safe Third Country Agreement’ a refugee must make a refugee claim in the first country in which they arrive; either Canada or the United States.  There is an exception to this agreement for unaccompanied minors, but the Canadian officials decided the exception did not apply in Mohammad’s case.

    January 11, 2016
    Syrian children in Lebanon

    Horrific images and stories are emerging from Syria. Amnesty International has spoken to residents in the besieged town of Madaya in the Damascus Countryside governorate, and gathered fresh accounts of conditions in al-Fouaa and Kefraya in the Idleb Countryside governorate. The starving residents described how families are surviving on little more that foraged leaves and boiled water. The villages are due to resume receiving aid following a deal involving the Syrian government, struck on 7 January 2016.

    These harrowing accounts of hunger represent the mere tip of an iceberg. Syrians are suffering and dying across the country because starvation is being used as a weapon of war by both the Syrian government and armed groups. By continuing to impose sieges on civilian areas and only sporadically allowing in aid at their whim they are fuelling a humanitarian crisis and toying with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

    November 02, 2015

    By Ina Strøm from Amnesty Norway
     

    Resettlement is a lifeline open to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. A young family from Syria tells us what a huge difference moving to Norway has made in their lives.

    “The Norwegian authorities deliberately scheduled the call on Kahraman’s first birthday,” remembers Sherihan, a 29-year-old musician. “They said: ‘We have a gift for you. You can come to Norway!’. We didn’t know anything about Norway, but we were so happy.”

    In a bright apartment in a modest 1950s building in a quiet corner of Oslo, Norway, she and her husband are teasing each other. “This is how I see Norway,” says Hennan, an artist aged 31: “Children come first, then the woman, then the dog, and at last the man!” They both laugh.

    Blood-spattered pieces of bread

    The happy scene is a million miles away from what they left behinhd in Aleppo, Syria. “Those days were hard,” says Hennan. “I saw a man being shot by snipers on the way from the bakery.

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