Widespread Violations Committed by the Syrian and Iranian Regimes against Daraa after Taking Control Over It in July 2018 to Crush Any Opposition to the Syrian Regime

Abrogating the Terms of the Agreements after the Passage of Time Is a Policy the Syrian Regime Has Followed in the Various Areas It Has Regained Control Over Through ‘Settlements’

SNHR

Press release (Link below to download full report):
 
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) reveals in a report released today, entitled “Widespread Violations Committed by the Syrian and Iranian Regimes against Daraa after Taking Control over It in July 2018 to Crush Any Opposition to the Syrian Regime”, that abrogating the terms of the agreements after the passage of time is a policy the Syrian regime has followed in the various areas it has regained control over through settlement agreements.
 
The 23-page report provides a sequential record of the most notable events in the Southern region of Syria since the collapse of the previous de-escalation agreement until the 2021 agreements, detailing how the Syrian-Iranian regime forces’ seizing control over large areas in July 2018 led to immediate violations, most notably the forced displacement of thousands of people in the region, and that the people who decided to stay were subjected to multiple types of violations by the Syrian-Iranian regime forces. As the report reveals, these violations were specifically aimed at emptying the region of its leading figures and activists in order to facilitate gradual regime control over it in the medium and long term, with the report further noting that arbitrary arrests/ enforced disappearances have increased since then, along with torture, killings and assassinations, the conscription of young people in the region into the ranks of Syrian regime forces, and the seizure of land and property, in addition to bombardment using ‘Elephant’ missiles and improvised munitions targeting civilian areas, causing casualties, including women and children. The report summarizes the record of the most notable violations committed by Syrian regime forces since they took control of the region in July 2018 up till October 2021.
 
The report also covers the developments that the region witnessed between August 9 and October 2021, as well as the developments that followed the agreement reached between the Negotiations Committee in Daraa city and a Russian delegation representing the Syrian regime on September 5, 2021, as well as the subsequent similar agreements witnessed by most villages in the eastern and western suburbs of Daraa. in addition, the report summarizes the record of the most notable violations committed by Syrian regime forces between August 9 and October 2021.
 
The report relies on direct testimonies from individuals who have been forcibly displaced, which SNHR acquired through speaking directly with witnesses, with none of these testimonies, including the five provided in this report, being cited from any open sources. The report stresses that it doesn’t go into the details of the negotiation processes, military clashes and the complex battle for control between Iran and Russia, adding that since SNHR’s primary focus remains on ensuring that civilians are not targeted in military operations, that all parties uphold and respect the rules of international humanitarian law during clashes, and respect international human rights law for the people who decided to stay, and that their fundamental rights are not violated.
 
As the report notes, the period between August 9 and October 2021 was characterized by constant attempts to reach an agreement between the Negotiation Committee in Daraa city and the Russian side representing the Syrian regime. Every time such an agreement was reached, however, Syrian regime forces would immediately undermine it over the following days by launching artillery and missile attacks on residential neighborhoods in Daraa al Balad, Tareeq al Sadd and the Daraa Camp with the specific objective of obtaining the greatest possible concessions.
 
The report adds that the Syrian regime used heavy machine guns and mortar shells to bombard residential neighborhoods in Daraa city, and that it escalated the pace of its attacks since August 23, 2021. The report documents the Syrian regime’s use of homemade ‘Elephant’ and Golan-type missiles, which are modified missiles using a large warhead, known for their great destructive capacity and lack of accuracy in hitting the target. The report records that between August 23 and September 5, at least 185 attacks were launched using missiles, targeting residential areas in Daraa al Balad neighborhoods in Daraa city, 94 of which took place between August 28 and 30, adding that nine attacks targeted vital civilian facilities.
 
In addition, the report provides maps identifying the most notable sites attacked by Syrian regime forces as well as the most notable sites of missile platforms used by the Syrian regime forces to launch these attacks.
 
As the report reveals, the living conditions of the population have deteriorated as a result of the siege imposed on neighborhoods in Daraa city, which began on June 24, 2021, and continued for about 20 days, and then became dependent on the progress of the agreements and the extent of the Syrian regime’s satisfaction with the terms agreed upon. The report notes that every time implementation of the agreement was hampered, Syrian regime forces responded by closing roads and preventing the entry of food and medicine.
 
The report further notes that as a result of the military operations led by Syrian regime forces and Iranian militias on the neighborhoods of Daraa al Balad, Tareeq al Sadd and the Palestinian refugee camp, at least 36,000 of these neighborhoods’ residents have been displaced towards the neighborhoods of Daraa al Mahatta, which are completely under the control of the Syrian regime and thus relatively calm. The report adds that thousands of families were forced to flee on foot with little baggage, with the majority of these families forced to live in schools and other public facilities in the neighborhoods of al Matar, al Qosour, al Kashef and al Sahari.
 
The report further notes that the Syrian regime’s military divisions – the 4th, 5th, 9th and 15th – backed by Iranian militias, seized dozens of civilian homes in areas of Gharz, al Shayyah and al Nakhla in farms to the south and east of Daraa city, along with others in al Dahiya area and the al Manshiya neighborhood of Daraa city. This came after civilian residents fled from these areas which were turned into the front lines for clashes between Syrian regime forces and affiliated militias on one hand, and fighters from the area on the other.
 
Between July 2018 and October 2021, the report documents the deaths of 361 civilians, including 47 children and 26 women (adult female), most of whom were killed in Inkhel city in the northern suburbs of Daraa, Nawa city in the western suburbs of Daraa, and the neighborhoods of Daraa al Balad. The report also documents the arrest of 1,589 individuals by Syrian regime forces, including 13 children and 22 women (adult female). These arrests were concentrated in Nasib town in the eastern suburbs of Daraa and Ataman village in the northern suburbs of Daraa. The report further documents that Syrian regime forces carried out 19 attacks on vital civilian facilities. During the same period, as the report reveals, the military operations launched by Syrian regime forces, backed by Iranian militias, have caused the displacement of at least 40,000 people from the neighborhoods of Daraa al Balad, Tareeq al Sadd, the Palestinian Refugee Camp, the Gharz area and Tal al Sultan, to the neighborhoods of Daraa al Mahatta, in addition to the people displaced and forcibly displaced from al Sanamayn city and Um Batna village.
 
The report calls on the UN Security Council and the United Nations to accelerate work on the comprehensive political transition process that will ensure the start of progress along a path of transitional justice and true national reconciliation based on accountability for the perpetrators of violations and respect for basic human rights and a transition towards democracy. The report stresses that the Syrian issue should be referred to the International Criminal Court and all those who are responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes should be held accountable. The report also calls on the UN Security Council and the United Nations to investigate claims that the Iranian regime is continuing to supply weapons, equipment, and militias to the Syrian regime, with the report providing a set of additional recommendations.
 

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