SNHR has released its special report on the most notable violations by the parties to the conflict against Syrian athletes who participated in the popular rising since March 2011.
According to the report, the economic situation and social status were two factors that disinterested the majority of Syrian athletes in being a part of the popular uprising toward freedom that broke out in March 2011. A third factor was the wide, brutal violations that Syrian regime forces perpetrated to intimidate and deter all of society’s segments.
The report says that security apparatuses, who devoured all of the state’s institutions and aspects, have used athletes and sporting activities to support and back the authority of oppression and its brutal oppressive practices. Nonetheless, a number of athletes chose to strife for democracy, freedom, and dignity. But the machines of killing, torture, and enforced-disappearance were waiting.
The report notes that Mahmoud Qteish al Jwabra, a player for al Shu’la Football Club, was the first of many athletes who were killed by Syrian security forces. Mahmoud, killed in Daraa city on March 18, 2011, was also the very first victim of the popular uprising.
The report outlines the most notable violations against Syrian athletes who has been a part of the different stages and events of the popular uprising, whether it was in relief aspects, media aspects, or even military aspects, including acts of killing, and arrests and enforced-disappearances. Additionally, the report sheds light on cases where Syrian regime forces turned a number of sporting facilities into military bases and detention centers for detainees, while we also included cases where sport clubs, stadiums, and sport halls were targeted by other parties.
The report defines an athlete citizen as any individual who worked or played at a sport club at any stage of his life, where he would still be regarded as an athlete even after he retires from sports action.
The report draws upon, mainly, on SNHR’s archive and investigations, in addition to accounts from victims’ families and relatives, and the information provided by local activists. Additionally, we have analyzed the pictures and videos we received.
The report records that 253 athletes have been killed by Syrian regime forces including 4 children, 57 armed opposition fighters, and 10 due to torture. In addition, 117 athletes were injured to varying degrees.
The report records the killing of 1 athlete by Russian forces. Furthermore, ISIS killed 5 athletes including one armed opposition fighter, while Fateh al Sham Front killed three athletes who were armed opposition fighters. Also, armed opposition factions’ actions resulted in the killing of 1 athlete child. In addition, one athlete died due to torture at the hands of the Kurdish Self-management forces.
According to the report, no less than 447 athletes have been arrested by Syrian regime forces including 8 children and 5 women. 183 of those are still forcibly-disappeared. ISIS arrested 16 athletes including 2 children. 3 of those are still forcibly-disappeared. Fateh al Sham Front arrested 6 others, while Kurdish Self-management forces arrested 9 for the purpose of conscription including one child.
The report also records 32 violations on sporting personnel and their facilities including 27 violations by the Syrian regime. Additionally, Russian forces committed one violation, whereas armed opposition factions committed 4 violations.