Statement issued by Syrian organizations working in the fields of documentation, accountability and transitional justice in support of the work of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM)

  Wednesday, 18 April 2018   We, the signatories to this letter, are Syrian organizations working on human rights documentation, accountability, and transitional justice in Syria. Reaffirming our commitment to the demands of justice and accountability, standing in solidarity with all victims in Syria and recognizing their demands for justice and redress, we would like […]

New Commission of Inquiry Report Focuses on Detainees

On March 9, the UN  Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria released a new report, ‘Detention in the Syrian Arab Republic: A Way Forward.’ The report offers an overview of the detainee crisis in Syria: tens of thousands of Syrians held with no due process, families with no knowledge of their loved ones, and prisons […]

Thirty Years Later: How the Legacy of Halabja has Failed to Protect Syria

Thirty years ago this week, Saddam Hussein’s forces attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja in Northeastern Iraq. Iraqi forces first launched a conventional attack, forcing civilians into confined basements and shelters. The air force then dropped what is believed to have been a combination of the deadly nerve agent sarin and mustard gas, effectively converting […]

Three Lessons for the UN Security Council on the Ghouta Ceasefire

It is now clear that the ceasefire passed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on February 24th has failed to put an end to the fighting in Syria or address the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Eastern Ghouta. An estimated 77 people were killed on Monday alone, and when an aid envoy finally entered Eastern Ghouta […]

Syria and the Collapse of the International System

The past few weeks have seen the emergence of a new narrative about the conflict in Syria. It is not, as had been widely reported towards the end of 2017, winding down, but rather entering a new phase. While the intervention of foreign powers has defined the war for years, the past few months have […]

Race to the Ballot Box: UN Must Learn from Past Mistakes, Avoid Pre-Mature Elections in Syria

Last week, the eighth round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition began in Geneva. Leading the talks, Syria Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura prioritized discussion of elections. In March 2016, de Mistura had proposed an 18-month timeline for the election date, and the issue has continued to be on the […]

Ghouta Siege: UN Must Respond to Government-Sanctioned Starvation and Civilian Harm

In October, photos of severely malnourished children in Eastern Ghouta brought renewed international attention to the plight of an estimated 400,000 civilians trapped in the Damascus suburb. Residents have been pushed to the brink of famine after the government tightened its siege in March – blocking all trade and smuggling routes into the region and […]

The Whack-a-Mole Strategy Against ISIS Carries a Civilian Toll

In mid-October, the US military granted safe passage to hundreds of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants out of Raqqa – the group’s de facto capital –  pursuant an evacuation deal arranged by the city’s civil council and tribal elders. This sanctioned exodus is part of a string of deals, which allow members […]