On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Affairs issued its annual report for 2018 on the human rights situation in different states worldwide.
The report on Syria is 71 pages long, focusing on several types of violations, most prominently the extrajudicial killings by the current Syrian government, as well as the repeated use of chemical weapons, enforced disappearance, torture, including sexual violence, arbitrary arrest; harsh, life-threatening conditions in detention centers, including lack of medical care; persecution of prisoners of conscience, and the imposition of harsh restrictions on freedom of opinion, expression and the press, in addition to including other violations of civil and political rights.
The report confirmed that the Syrian government has not undertaken any investigation, nor has it held any officer or anyone involved in violations and crimes accountable. In addition, groups and militias linked to the Syrian government, including the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group, have committed widespread and repeated violations.
The report also covers violations by other parties in addition to the Syrian regime, including violations committed by opposition forces in the Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Suburbs and in Afrin city in the western suburbs of Aleppo, as well as cataloguing the arrests and restrictions committed by the Kurdish forces, including the violations of the Syrian Democratic Forces, mainly the conscription of children. The report stressed that extremist terrorist organizations such as Hay’at Tahrir al Sham has committed widespread violations, such as massacres, kidnapping and murder in the same manner as the ISIS terrorist organization. Finally, the report focused on the air attacks carried out by the Russian forces, which caused the deaths of many civilians in a systematic and random manner, especially those in support of Syrian government forces during the attack on the Eastern Ghouta