Team Syria’s Success Highlights Deep Fractures in Society

On October 10, the Syrian Arab Republic national football team – “Team Syria” – will compete in its second match against Australia at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium to qualify for its first ever World Cup tournament. Syria’s surprising rise to the World Cup qualifiers has aroused conflicting emotions among Syrians and has allowed the Assad government […]

At the UN, governments and civil society meet to build a foundation for justice in Syria

On September 21, proponents of the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to investigate serious crimes in Syria gathered on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting to discuss developments in the effort to end impunity in Syria and to galvanize international support for the Mechanism. In attendance were representatives from UN Member States, […]

De Mistura versus the Commission of Inquiry: Where does the Syrian conflict actually stand?

  On August 30, UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura delivered a Security Council briefing regarding the situation in Syria, wherein he spoke of de-escalating violence, advancing the political process, and combatting terrorism. In doing so, the Special Envoy painted an illusorily warm portrait of the current situation. The same week, the UN […]

The Responsibility of Technology Companies in the Age of Digital Human Rights Documentation

Over the past few weeks, the video streaming website YouTube has removed thousands of videos and numerous channels of organizations and individuals documenting atrocities from the Syrian conflict. Although some channels and videos were restored following complaints, many significant videos are still missing. The purge is part of a Google effort to implement machine learning […]

Del Ponte’s Resignation and the UN’s Missteps in Syria

Earlier this month, Carla Del Ponte, a co-commissioner of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, resigned, frustrated by the lack of progress in promoting human rights and accountability in Syria. Del Ponte said in several media interviews that the UN Security Council has failed to act on Syria after […]

Assad’s Son, Math Competitions, and Solving the Syrian Nepotism Equation

On July 17, Hafez Al-Assad, the son of Bashar Al-Assad, participated in the International Math Olympiad competition in Brazil as a member of the Syrian national team. Hafez scored last on the team and received one of the lowest rankings in the entire Olympiad competition. Syrian commentators were quick to ridicule his scores, but their […]

International Sanctions Are Not a Substitute for Accountability in Syria

On July 17, the European Union (EU) sanctioned 16 members of the Syrian government accused of facilitating chemical weapons attacks. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson announced that the sanctions send a “clear signal” to the government that its actions have consequences. However, only one month prior, President Emmanuel Macron of France – a key member […]

Responding to Misconceptions Regarding the IIIM

The following article was written through the cooperation of three non-governmental organizations: Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, Syrians for Truth and Justice, and the Violations Documentation Center in Syria. Its content reflects the joint views of these entities.  The International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible […]

The Significance of Apologies and Truth-Telling in the Syrian Conflict

  On June 27, former Syrian defense minister Mustafa Tlass, 85, died in Paris. Tlass – who served as defense minister from 1972 to 2004 – was a close aide to former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad and his son, current president Bashar al-Assad. While defense minister, Tlass ordered up to 150 deaths per week by […]

The Importance of Protecting Mass Graves in Syria

As Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advance on Raqqa, Kurdish sources have reported the discovery of an alleged Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) mass gravesite four kilometers east of Tabqa. According to a 2016 Associated Press survey, ISIS has commonly used mass graves since 2014; the survey estimated ISIS has 72 mass gravesites in […]