• La pacification de la Syrie utile s'est poursuivie en 2018, après la quasi-disparition sur le terrain du groupe État islamique. c'était une année où des autocrates bien portants et populaires ont affermi leur pouvoir par différents moyens plus ou moins brutaux, et ce qui a permit, directement ou indirectement, de maintenir en place du roi tourmenté local; en effet, ce petit nero s'est révélé plus robuste qu'on ne le pensait, il est désormais considéré par défaut comme le dirigeant permettant d'éviter un chaos total à la libyenne, recevant implicitement la bénédiction des grandes puissances et des puissances régionales et même d’Israël, malgré la présence iranienne. Cependant, ce régime, qui n'a pas encore  réussi à nettoyer l'ensemble de la population sunnite appauvrie et apeurée, devrait s'efforcer de trouver un modus vivendi avec ce groupe majoritaire, sinon on risque de se retrouver avec une dictature des minorités pratiquant une sorte d'apartheid inversé, prolongeant le malheur d'une nation menacée par la peur de l'Autre et par l'égoïsme. Pas de raisons de se réjouir, sauf à constater la fin des hostilités dans certaines zones, et un retour progressif des réfugiés. Voici ce qu'en dit Human Rights Watch dans son rapport 2019 sur son site en anglais:



    Events of 2018


    Une petite fille déplacée interne, de la province de Daraa, portant un jouet et tenant par la main un môme à Quneitra, près de la zone occupée par Israel sur les hauteurs du Golan, 29 juin 2018.

    © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir

    In 2018, the Syrian government, supported by Russia and Iran, recaptured areas in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside and Daraa governorate. Government forces used a combination of unlawful tactics, including prohibited weapons, indiscriminate strikes, and restrictions on humanitarian aid, to force anti-government groups to surrender in these areas, resulting in mass displacement. Anti-government armed groups indiscriminately attacked neighboring government-held areas and restricted civilians’ ability to flee hostilities.

    At the time of writing, a tenuous ceasefire was holding in Idlib between the Syrian-Russian military alliance and anti-government armed groups. Anti-government groups in Idlib detained individuals attempting reconciliation with the government, media activists, and restricted humanitarian aid. After several reported chemical attacks during the first half of the year, in an unprecedented step, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was authorized to attribute responsibility for attacks in Syria.

    In areas re-taken from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the high toll of the war in civilian casualties and damaged infrastructure became clearer. Landmines planted by ISIS before fleeing continued to kill and maim civilians. Little progress has been made in providing the necessary resources for recovery, and/or compensation for civilian victims of attacks. ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria continued to perpetrate abuses, ranging from summary executions and kidnappings to interference in aid delivery.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group based in the UK, estimated the death toll since the start of the war to be as high as 511,000 as of March 2018. Years of relentless fighting left 6.6 million displaced internally and 5.6 million around the world, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

    At the end of the year, the Geneva-led political process remained at a standstill, and a new UN special envoy was appointed.

    As active conflict partially decreases, Russia and Syria called for refugees to return and Syria passed laws to facilitate reconstruction. Despite this, government forces continued to violate human rights and international humanitarian law, arbitrarily detaining and mistreating people, and imposing onerous restrictions on freedom of movement.

    Syrian-Russian Indiscriminate Attacks

    Indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian objects by the Syrian-Russian military alliance persisted in 2018. In February, government forces launched a military campaign to retake Eastern Ghouta, an urban suburb of Damascus. Over 1,600 civilians were reportedly killed between February 18 until March 21. The Syrian-Russian military alliance struck at least 25 medical facilities, 11 schools, and countless civilian residences.

    Similarly, on June 16, the alliance led an offensive in Daraa and Quneitra governorates, southwest of Syria, triggering massive displacement towards Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    Use of Unlawful Weapons, including Chemical Weapons

    Parties to the conflict continued to use unlawful weapons. The Syrian-Russian military alliance used internationally banned cluster munitions and chemical weapons in re-taking areas. Human Rights Watch investigated 36 cluster munition attacks between July 2017 and June 2018 and another two-dozen more possible cluster munition attacks. Evidence suggests the alliance used incendiary weapons in Ghouta and Daraa.

    Between 2013 and 2018, Human Rights Watch and seven other independent, international organizations investigated and confirmed at least 85 chemical weapons attacks – the majority perpetrated by Syrian government forces. The actual number of chemical attacks is likely higher.

    After a chemical attack on Douma in Eastern Ghouta, there were renewed international efforts to deter use of chemical weapons. Russia used its veto in the Security Council in February and April, preventing the creation of a UN-led investigatory mechanism. However, in June, states parties to the Chemical Weapons Conventions granted the OPCW permanent authorization to investigate and assign responsibility for chemical weapons attacks. 

    Abuses by Non-State Armed Groups

    Between February and April, anti-government groups based in Ghouta – including Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, and Faylaq al-Rahmane – killed and maimed hundreds of civilians in indiscriminate attacks on Damascus. According to the UN Commission of Inquiry, the armed groups regularly arbitrarily arrested and tortured civilians in Douma, including members of religious minority groups.

    Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an Al-Qaeda affiliate present in Idlib, carried out arbitrary arrests and kidnappings that targeted local political opponents and journalists. Infighting left civilians dead, as did recurring assassinations and car bombings. The group continued to interfere with humanitarian access and aid distribution in areas under its control.

    On July 25, ISIS led simultaneous incursions in al-Suweida governorate, killing at least 200 individuals and kidnapping 27 people. ISIS unlawfully executed one of the hostages in August. In November, all the remaining hostages were freed according to the state news agency. In the meantime, the fate of thousands of those kidnapped by ISIS in the east of Syria before they lost the territory remains unknown, with little effort by the Syrian Democratic Forces and US-led coalition to uncover their whereabouts.

    Though the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition pushed ISIS out of Raqqa in October 2017, homemade landmines and explosive devices planted by ISIS before fleeing continued to kill and maim civilians. Between October 2017 and April 2018, more than 1,000 people have been injured or killed by mines, according to local medical workers.

    Turkish Offensive on Afrin

    On January 20, Turkey launched a military offensive in Afrin district in northwest Syria, previously under the control of the Kurdish-majority Autonomous Administration.  As of March, the Turkish offensive reportedly resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians, and displaced tens of thousands according to the United Nations. Turkish media reported the YPG launched indiscriminate attacks on Turkish border towns and killed at least seven civilians. 

    Turkish-supported non-state armed groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army also seized, destroyed, and looted properties of Kurdish civilians in Afrin, while local activists reported at least 86 incidents of abuse that appeared to amount to unlawful arrests, torture, and disappearances by those groups.

    Violations by US-Backed Forces and the US-Led Coalition

    While the United States-led coalition re-opened investigations into civilian casualties from its strikes and admitted to inadvertently killing civilians, it did not provide transparency around these investigations nor compensation for victims. Although exhumation of mass grave sites began in Raqqa city, little support has been provided to develop clear protocols to preserve or forensically identify the dead. 

    The US assisted the SDF in northern Syria to detain hundreds of foreign ISIS suspects, and has begun returning suspected fighters to their countries, without transparency, raising human rights concerns.

    The Syrian Democratic Council, a civilian authority operating in areas retaken from ISIS, and the Kurdish-majority Autonomous Administration overseeing displacement camps in the northeast, confiscated identification documents of displaced persons and arbitrarily prevented them from leaving the camps and moving freely. In a positive step, in September, the Syrian Democratic Forces pledged to stop recruiting children.

    Since January, the Autonomous Administration and the Asayish, the local police, detained at least 20 members of the Kurdish National Council, a coalition of opposition Kurdish parties, and in some cases appear to have forcibly disappeared them.

    Arbitrary Detention and Enforced Disappearances

    As of August 30, more than 90,000 individuals were forcibly disappeared in Syria, most at the hands of the Syrian government, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), a local monitoring organization. The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a local monitoring group, has compiled 60,000 names of those detained by the government since 2011 whose fate remains unknown.  

    In July, the Syrian government updated civil registries to include death certificates for hundreds of individuals previously detained or disappeared by the government. The updates provided no specific details other than date and, occasionally, cause of death, and the government failed to provide the remains to the families. Meanwhile, the Syrian government continues to detain and mistreat individuals in areas under its control.

    Russia, Iran, and Turkey have repeatedly made commitments to resolve arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances as guarantors of the Astana talks. In December 2017, the guarantors established a working group on detentions and abductions in the Syrian conflict. Yet, little progress has been made.

    In March, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria issued a report on sexual and gender-based violence from March 2011 to December 2017 finding that the rape and sexual violence committed by government forces and associated militias amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Displacement Crisis

    From January to April 2018 more than 920,000 individuals had been newly displaced inside of Syria, according to the UN. Neighboring countries – including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon – continued to prevent Syrians from seeking asylum at their borders, despite serious risks of violence. By September 2018, 5.6 million Syrians have taken refuge outside the country, the majority in neighboring countries.

    More than a million Syrian refugees are registered with UNHCR in Lebanon. Lebanon’s residency policy makes it difficult for Syrians to maintain legal status. Seventy-four percent of Syrians in Lebanon lack legal residency and risk detention for being in the country unlawfully. In 2017, Lebanese authorities stepped up calls for refugees to return, despite the ongoing conflict and well-founded fears of persecution. A small number of refugees have returned to Syria under localized agreements, however these are not overseen by UNHCR. Some refugees have said they are returning because of harsh policies and deteriorating conditions in Lebanon, not because they think Syria is safe. Municipalities in Lebanon forcibly evicted thousands of refugees in mass expulsions without a legal basis or due process. Tens of thousands remain at risk of eviction. 

    As of May, Turkey had registered almost 3.6 million Syrian refugees in the country. Since January, however, ten provinces – including Istanbul and Hatay – suspended Syrian asylum seeker registration. Turkish security forces intercepted and deported thousands of newly arrived Syrian asylum seekers at the Turkey-Syrian border during the year, and summarily deported them to the war-ravaged Syrian governorate of Idlib. Turkey has stated that it will not open its border to asylum seekers fleeing hostilities in Idlib. Instead, Turkish authorities have opened several displacement camps in areas under their control in Syria.

    As of June 2018, Jordan has registered around 666,294 Syrian refugees. Jordan categorically refused to open the border – closed since June 2016 – to incoming asylum seekers fleeing hostilities in the southwest. However, Jordan helped evacuate members of the Syrian Civil Defense, a humanitarian emergency response team affiliated with the opposition, whom Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, among others, agreed to resettle. In 2018, Jordan began regularizing the stay of refugees without residency permits.

    Russia refused to grant asylum to a Syrian national, claiming that his case was baseless given “the ongoing events on [Syria’s] territory have specific characteristics of a counterterrorist operation, not a classical military confrontation.”

    The US renewed its grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to almost 7,000 Syrians living in the United States, but did not extend the status to any new Syrians. It also maintained a ban on Syrian citizens entering the United States. The European Union’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis continued to fall short, with its emphasis on preventing arrivals from Turkey and confining those who do in overcrowded, unsanitary camps on Greek islands.

    Reconstruction and Property Rights

    The Syrian government passed Law 10 of 2018, empowering it to establish redevelopment zones for rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. The law empowers the government to confiscate residents’ property without due process or adequate compensation. In November, in response to international pressure, the Syrian parliament amended the law. However, there are still significant concerns in the law that remain unaddressed. In Qaboun and Darayya the government has restricted access for civilian residents seeking to return to their homes, and has unlawfully demolished residents’ private homes, without providing notice, alternative housing, or compensation.

    Russia has called on the European Union and Western states to support reconstruction in Syria, currently predicted to cost at least US$250 billion. The European Union and the United States have maintained that they will not fund reconstruction in government-held Syria in the absence of a political transition along the lines of the UN Security Council resolution 2254. However, several European states, including France and Switzerland are seeking to support rehabilitation and stabilization efforts in areas re-taken by the government, or have opened humanitarian offices in Damascus.

    In areas controlled by anti-government groups and the Syrian Democratic Forces, most Western donors continue to provide humanitarian aid. However, the United Kingdom and Netherlands have withdrawn their support for stabilization and resilience in northwest Syria. The United States also froze its funding for recovery and stabilization in areas captured from ISIS, asking the UAE and Saudi Arabia to step in to support local authorities, which they did.

    Key International Actors

    The UN-led political negotiations remained at a standstill, while Russia continued its attempts to politically legitimize the government’s military gains. In January, Russia hosted a Syrian People’s Congress in Sochi to agree on a new constitution. Though it failed to achieve its stated objective, the congress mandated the UN Special Envoy with the creation of a constitutional committee. The committee has not been created yet.

    Russia, Turkey, and Iran continued their tripartite meetings on Syria, holding three summit-level meetings in 2018 and three rounds of talks in the Astana process, negotiations on de-escalation held regularly in Astana, Kazakhstan since 2017. Russia remains the primary arms supplier to the Syrian government.

    The United States’ policies on Syria oscillated. In August, the US announced it would pull back hundreds of millions of dollars in funding allocated to rebuild parts of Syria previously held by ISIS. In September, the US announced that it intended to maintain a military presence in Syria, despite having announced a pullback earlier in the year.

    The United States, United Kingdom, and France conducted airstrikes on April 14 in response to the reported chemical weapons attack on Douma. Israel also reportedly conducted several strikes on government-held areas.

    In April, EU foreign ministers reiterated their joint commitment to “relentlessly” pursue the release of civilians detained and disappeared, and alongside the UN, co-chaired the Brussels II conference on Syria. It will host a third in March 2019.

    In June, Germany's chief federal prosecutor reportedly issued an arrest warrant for a senior Syrian military official on charges of war crimes. France issued its own arrest warrants in November.

    UN Security Council and General Assembly

    In late 2017, the UN Security Council renewed the mandate for cross-border aid delivery.  The humanitarian aspect of the Syrian conflict is one of few where the council maintains consensus. On accountability, the council remains deadlocked due to Russia’s use of the veto.

    Meanwhile, the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), a quasi-special prosecutor’s office established by the UN General Assembly in December 2016, continued to gather and preserve evidence for future criminal prosecutions. The body is reportedly opening two cases in 2018.



    votre commentaire
  • Maintenant que les Russes et Américains, avec leurs alliés respectifs, ont réussi à nous débarrasser de Daech, que réserve l'avenir à la Syrie? Une Syrie exsangue, épuisée, vidée de son sang et de son énergie, ce pays est malgré tout préservé, mais en situation de réanimation.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    En effet, que reste-t-il de sa richesse, de son prestige, de son patrimoine et de son noble passé? sa plus grande richesse ce sont ces gens, hautement qualifiés et formés à la dure, sous un régime ultra-autoritaire, et qui se sont évanouis de Syrie, ne supportant plus le bruit des bombes et le manque de libertés, ayant suffisamment de moyens pour quitter (à leur cœur défendant) leur cher pays, ce Sham éternel à l'empreinte si puissante, qui restera pour eux un souvenir qu'il faudra vivifier par des réunions de mémoires ou par des rituels de sauvegarde de l'essence syrienne.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Que reste-t-il de la Syrie d'avant 2011? qui restera encore en Syrie? un énorme espoir s'est évanouit. Une chimère pour les uns, un Idéal presque impossible mais pourtant réalisable pour les autres. Les amis du régime peuvent être satisfaits, ils peuvent claironner que Bachar a sauvé la Syrie, que ce pays retrouvera son unité, bien que tous les territoires n'ont pas encore été tous repris et peut être certains ne seront jamais récupérés.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Mais sur qui donc va régner ce président, sur une Syrie qui a perdu son âme? sur des vestiges fumantes? sur des perses syriannisés? les meilleurs ont quitté la Syrie, il ne restera que les pauvres, les infortunés, les complaisants, les complices et les profiteurs. Malheur à ces derniers, qui sont comme des chacals qui se nourrissent de la chair des morts et des survivants, morts de la Ghouta, de Harasta, du Yarmouk, de Homs, d'Idleb et les survivants de Damas, d'Alep et de Tartous.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Bachar ne régnera que sur une Syrie éperdue et confuse, où domine le chaos, la peur dans les cœurs, et la faim. Les serpents se répandront et étrangleront ceux qui refusent la corruption. Il faudra au moins une génération pour retrouver un niveau intellectuel et spirituel d'avant la guerre. C'est peut être seulement vers 2048 que la Syrie respirera de nouveau un air pur de liberté.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Il semble, pour ceux qui savent lire l'histoire, que celui qui tient la Citadelle, le vainqueur d'aujourd'hui, connaîtra le même sort que celui de Franco en Espagne, lequel a certes sauvé l'essentiel, mais qui a ensuite sombré dans les catacombes du Temps. A moins d'un miracle, d'une repentance, d'une douloureuse remise en question et d'une volonté de bien faire, d'un départ volontaire...car il est improbable qu'un accord soit trouvé avec ses opposants. Il y a tout de même un esprit, une intelligence, une conscience, un désir indestructible qu'on ne trouve nulle part ailleurs dans le monde arabe, un Idéal que les Syriens concrétiseront un jour, afin de redorer l'esplanade des Omeyyades après l'affront et la honte de la prédation et du crime impuni.

    Soleils pâles de l’espérance

    Le président Assad disparaîtra avant, mais qui lui succédera-t-il? même une démocratie sera boiteuse, tant qu'on n'aura pas réglé le problème politique pour une harmonie entre toutes les composantes de la société, pour toutes les ethnies et toutes les confessions, ceci est réalisable par la recherche persévérante d'une voie médiane pour éteindre le feu de la violence d'abord, puis garantir une représentation équitable à toutes les minorités, jusqu'à ce que l'excitation confessionnelle s'éteigne et que la réconciliation se mette en marche...



    votre commentaire

    Après sept ans de guerre civile en Syrie, on ne voit pas d'issue pacifique. En 2017, le principal résultat ça a été qu'on a anéantit DAECH / ISIS, mais pas encore son idéologie autodestructrice. On constate aussi un partage de zones d'influences pro-russe et pro-occidentale. Mais après? Il y a tous ces crimes gratuits qui sont perpétrés sans état d'âme, comme s'il s'agissait de cafards qu'il fallait écraser, un simple nettoyage. D'ailleurs, les armées du régime et les milices complices ont utilisé des gaz chimiques (gaz sarin et chlorine, c'est prouvé) contre des populations civiles. Tout ça nous amène à nous poser la question: que vaut la vie d'un Syrien au XXIè siècle? réponse: pas grand chose, et c'est ainsi pour les divers acteurs de ce conflit interminable, comme la Turquie récemment (février/mars 2018) dans l’extrême nord syrien. Chacun a (sa fausse) justification. Dernier crime en date rapporté ci-dessous dans le rapport d'Human Rights Watch 2018, le cas de cet ingénieur informaticien nommé Bassel Khartabil, exécuté en détention par les autorités syriennes en 2015 juste parcequ'il a milité pour davantage de libertés et de justice. Mais Pourquoi? Pourquoi? Pourquoi? Quelle honte pour ce pays millénaire! quelle infamie pour un passé si noble! Espérons que l'Histoire retiendra son nom, et pas celui de ses exécutants...

    Voici ce que dit le rapport 2018 de HRW sur la Syrie ci-dessous en anglais.




    The fight against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) emerged as the top priority for Syria’s multiple warring parties in 2017. The government, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, retook large parts of Central and Eastern Syria from ISIS while US-backed Syria Democratic Forces controlled Raqqa. The race to secure territory and consolidate gains was accompanied by grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law that have come to characterize the Syria conflict.

    More than 400,000 have died because of the Syrian conflict since 2011, according to the World Bank, with 5 million seeking refuge abroad and over 6 million displaced internally, according to UN agencies. By June 2017, the UN also estimated that 540,000 people were still living in besieged areas.

    The Syrian government has launched numerous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas. With Russia and Iran’s support, the Syrian government has conducted deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, withheld humanitarian aid, employed starvation as war tactic, and forcibly displaced Syrians in contravention of international law. The Syrian government’s practices of torture and ill-treatment in detention and enforced disappearances continue.

    Non-state armed groups have also committed a host of violations. The groups have launched deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, abducted, and arbitrarily detained activists, used excessive force to stifle protests and interfered with humanitarian aid delivery. ISIS has reportedly used civilians as human shields, and employed landmines and other IEDs causing significant harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.

    Civilian casualties from airstrikes by the US-led coalition fighting ISIS increased with a local group, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, reporting 2,286 civilian deaths since the beginning of the campaign until September 2017. A number of these strikes raise concerns that the coalition failed to take necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties.

    While accountability efforts remained blocked at the Security Council, the UN General Assembly established in December 2016 a mechanism to assist in the investigation of serious crimes, preserve evidence and prepare cases for future criminal proceedings.

    Syrian government and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb approximately 15 kilometers from the center of Syria’s capital Damascus, killing dozens of civilians in apparently unlawful attacks.

    Targeting Civilians, Indiscriminate Attacks, Continued Use of Cluster Munitions and Incendiary Weapons

    Unlawful attacks against civilians and civilian structures in Syria have persisted, with attacks on medical facilities, schools, and mosques.

    The Syrian government regained control over opposition-held parts of Aleppo at the end of 2016. In their operation, the Russian-Syrian military coalition conducted indiscriminate air attacks, including strikes on several medical facilities, and used incendiary weapons and cluster munitions. The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a local monitoring group, documented the killing of 446 civilians, including 91 children, in aerial attacks in eastern Aleppo between September 19 and October 18.

    While the number of civilian deaths in Southern Syria decreased following local ceasefire agreements, unlawful attacks persisted. In June, for example, Russian-Syrian airstrikes and artillery attacks targeted the town of Tafas, south of Daraa, killing 10 civilians in and near a school.

    In September, the Russian-Syrian Joint Military Operation launched an offensive on Idlib province. Airstrikes targeted several towns and surrounding areas in the province, destroying at least six hospitals and five civil defense centers, resulting in the death of over 150 civilians, according to the Syrian Civil Defense.

    Cluster munition attacks by Syrian government forces on opposition-held areas continued unabated. At least 238 separate attacks using cluster munitions in Syria between August 2016 and July 2017 were reported by local activists, first responders, and medical personnel.

    Human Rights Watch recorded at least 22 air attacks with incendiary weapons in 2017. In April 2017, Human Rights Watch documented the use of ZAB incendiary submunitions, containing thermite, and delivered by RBK-500 bombs used to attack the city of Saraqeb, northwest of Saraqeb.

    Unlawful Restrictions on Humanitarian Aid, Sieges, and Forced Displacements

    The siege of civilian areas and restrictions on humanitarian aid by government and pro-government forces and by armed opposition groups continued in 2017. UN OCHA estimate that around 540,000 persons were trapped in besieged areas as of June 2017 with the majority besieged by government forces in Eastern Ghouta.

    Humanitarian conditions in besieged opposition enclaves rapidly deteriorated in 2017, forcing communities in several besieged areas to surrender to the terms of brokered ceasefire and evacuation deals with the government.

    Several local “reconciliation” agreements were finalized in 2017, including the “Four Towns Agreement” signed in March, resulted in the evacuation of the government-besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani in exchange for evacuating the towns of Fouah and Kefraya, encircled by armed opposition groups. The UN Commission of Inquiry and Amnesty International have found that some of these evacuations are unlawful and constitute forced displacement.

    Unlawful Use of Chemical Weapons and Nerve Agents

    The Syrian government’s forces continued to use chemical weapons repeatedly, with nerve agents being deployed on at least four occasions since late 2016—in eastern Hama on December 11 and 12, 2016, northern Hama, on March 30, and Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.

    New evidence supports the conclusion that Syrian government forces have used nerve agents on at least four occasions in recent months: on April 4, 2017, in a chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed at least 90 people, and on three other occasions in December 2016 and March 2017. 

    Clinical symptoms affecting victims of the chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun suggested that an organophosphorus compound, which targets the nervous system, was used. The attack killed at least 92, including 30 children, and injured hundreds more.

    In September, the UN-appointed commission of inquiry’s report concluded that “the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, killing dozens, the majority of whom were women and children.” The commission says it has evidence the attack was conducted by a Sukhoi SU-22 aircraft, a type that only Syrian government forces use. In October, the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Russia vetoed the renewal of the JIM whose mandate ended in November.

    Human Rights Watch also documented government helicopters dropping chlorine on at least eight occasions in the offensive to recapture Aleppo, indicating widespread and systematic use of chemical weapons.

    US-Led Coalition Airstrikes

    In March, a U.S. warplane struck a mosque in al-Jinah village in Aleppo killing at least 38 people. The US said it struck a meeting of al-Qaeda members but local residents said that the victims were all civilians attending evening prayers. Statements by US military after the attack indicate they failed to understand the targeted building was a mosque, that prayer was about to begin, and that a religious lecture was taking place at the time of the attack. The United States did conduct an investigation into the airstrike, and found it legal, though it failed to clarify the factors that led to that determination or consult external actors. The UN Commission of Inquiry found the strike was unlawful as US forces failed to take all feasible precautions to minimize loss of civilian life.

    Two aerial attacks near Raqqa, Syria in March killed at least 84 civilians, including 30 children, and raise concerns that US-led coalition forces fighting the extremist armed group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) did not take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties.

    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, around 1,100 civilians died in airstrikes launched by coalition planes since the campaign to retake the city of Raqqa began.

    Human Rights Watch investigated several airstrikes in towns near Raqqa, including one on a school housing displaced persons in Mansourah on March 20 and a market and a bakery in Tabqa on March 22 that killed at least 84 civilians, including 30 children. According to local residents, the Mansourah school had long hosted displaced civilians fleeing other parts of Syria, and civilians had used the Tabqa market throughout the war.

    These strikes raise concerns that US-led coalition forces did not take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties.

    Enforced Disappearances, Death in Custody, Arbitrary Arrests, Torture

    Arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, torture and enforced disappearances continued to run rampant in Syria. In 2017, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) documented more than 4,252 individual arbitrary arrests, most of them conducted by government forces. As of August 2017, over 80,000 individuals remain disappeared according to SNHR.

    In August, the wife of Bassel Khartabil, a computer engineer and freedom of expression advocate who was arrested in 2012, revealed that she had received confirmation that government forces had executed her husband in detention in 2015 but had kept his fate secret. The Syrian government also conducted arbitrary arrests under a law that criminalizes “unnatural sexual intercourse.”

    Non-State Armed Groups’ Abuses

    Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham

    In January, a coalition of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which changed its name from Jabhat al-Nusra after stating that it was breaking off ties with al-Qaeda, and other opposition factions formed Hay’et Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which became the dominant group in Idlib province. During 2017 HTS committed a host of violations including arbitrary detention of civilians and local activists in Idlib. In response to protests by civilians in Idlib province contesting HTS’s control, the group reportedly shot at protestors, killing and injuring civilians. HTS also interfered with humanitarian aid delivery, in contravention of international humanitarian law.

    HTS also targeted religious minorities through car bombings. In March, HTS claimed responsibility for two explosions in the Bab al-Saghir cemetery, a well-known Shia pilgrimage site south of Damascus which, according to the UN Commission of Inquiry, killed 44 civilians, including 8 children, and injured another 120.


    Abuses by ISIS against civilians continue unabated despite the group losing control of wide areas. ISIS used civilians as human shields in its defense of Raqqa and other towns, and employed internationally banned landmines to hold off the advance of attacking forces.

    In May, ISIS militants attacked the town of Aqarib al-Safiyah, predominantly populated by Ismailis, a minority Shia Muslim community. While attempting to flee, residents were killed in the streets by snipers positioned at the village’s water reservoir and on the roofs of houses. In total, 52 civilians were killed, including 12 children according to the UN Commission of Inquiry. Another 100 were injured, including two girls who suffered serious head wounds.

    The UN-OPCW’s joint investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria has previously confirmed that ISIS has used chemical weapons, specifically sulfur mustard gas, against civilians.

    Other Armed Groups

    Fighting among different non-state armed groups increased risk to civilians. The UN Commission of Inquiry has documented the death of an 11 year old child in Daraa City, as well as destruction of civilian infrastructure, as a result of indiscriminate shelling by armed groups. The commission estimated that practices of torture and arbitrary detention continued in areas under the control of armed groups, including Eastern Ghouta.

    Areas Under Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Control

    The security forces in PYD-controlled areas conducted a series of raids to close opposing political parties’ offices, and detained and harassed members of the political opposition and activists. Most were detained without any charges brought against them. The majority of prisoners were released after a few months.

    Human Rights Watch has received reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention facilities controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a coalition of forces fighting ISIS primarily made up of the YPG. SDF held individuals without charge in violation of fair trial guarantees, according to local residents. Local activists report the SDF restricted the freedom of movement of displaced persons from Raqqa and Deir-Ezzor province who end up in displacement camps in SDF-controlled areas and deteriorating humanitarian conditions for the displaced.

    Displacement Crisis and Forcible Evacuations

    Neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, sought to curb the massive inflow of refugees with unlawful administrative, legal, and even physical barriers. Incidents of Turkish border guards shooting at Syrians and smugglers attempting to cross the border continue to be reported, including the fatal shooting of a three-year-old child in September. Lebanon maintained visa-like restrictions for Syrians seeking entry and stringent residency renewal regulations, negatively impacting refugees’ freedom of movement, access to education, and access to healthcare. Deteriorating conditions for Syrians in the Lebanese border town of Arsal led to almost 10,000 Syrians returning to Idlib largely under agreements negotiated between Hezbollah and different Syrian groups as well as ISIS.

    In the first five months of 2017, Jordanian authorities deported about 400 registered Syrian refugees per month to unsafe conditions in Syria. Another estimated 500 refugees each month returned to Syria from Jordan under circumstances that are unclear. Authorities produced little evidence of wrongdoing by these refugees and did not give any real opportunity for the refugees to contest their removal or to seek legal help prior to their deportation.

    Key International Actors

    Peace talks held by the United Nations in Geneva have failed to achieve momentum. In January 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Astana, Kazakhstan along with representatives of the parties to the conflict to pursue a de-escalation of the conflict. While consecutive Astana meetings have resulted in a decrease in violence following a May agreement on four de-escalation zones, they have failed to realize a stop to the violence completely. The Syrian government, Russia and other actors repeatedly violated these ceasefires. In October, Turkey deployed troops inside Idlib province.

    The Syrian government continued to violate Security Council resolutions demanding safe and unhindered humanitarian access; cessation of “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs;” and an end to the practices of arbitrary detention, disappearance, and abductions, and the release of everyone who has been arbitrarily detained.

    In addition to persistently discouraging or pre-emptively rejecting suggestions for meaningful Security Council action to curb violations by the Syrian government, Russia, along with the Iranian government, continued to provide the Syrian government with military assistance in 2017.

    The United States also continued to lead a coalition of other states targeting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as to support the Syrian Democratic Forces in the same offensive. In April, the United States also launched an attack on a Syrian airfield in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. In July, the United States, Jordan and Russia agreed to a ceasefire zone in southern Syria.

    In December 2016, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution creating the “International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism” to gather, preserve, and analyze potential evidence of serious crimes in Syria for use in courts that may have a mandate over the abuses now or in the future.

    Efforts to bring those responsible for atrocities in Syria before European courts are starting to bear fruit, notably in Swedish and German courts. While various authorities in Europe have opened investigations of serious international crimes committed in Syria, Sweden and Germany are the first two countries that have prosecuted and convicted people for these crimes.

    In April, foreign ministers of EU member states adopted the EU strategy for Syria, which includes political and humanitarian actions and provides for efforts to promote accountability for war crimes and serious human rights violations. In May, the European Parliament welcomed the adoption of the strategy and stressed the need for accountability, both at the international and domestic levels.

    In April, the EU hosted the “Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,” in which donors pledged €5.6 billion for 2017 and €3.5 billion for the 2018-2020 period. In June, the European Commission announced €1.5 million to support the IIIM. In September, the EU announced the intention to host a second donors conference in Brussels in spring 2018.

    Police and prosecutors in several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France, are also in the process of investigating some individuals alleged to have committed serious crimes such as torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria under the principle of universal jurisdiction. 



    votre commentaire

     La Syrie n'est pas encore arrivée à la fin de ses malheurs et la tourmente se poursuit pour plus de 6 millions de Syriens à l'intérieur du pays. La stratégie des stratèges de chaque camp est de mettre les civils de l'autre bord en danger de mort pour faire basculer les sièges et les batailles, c'est d'un cynisme redoutable et des crimes commis de sang froid, mais on se dit que c'est ça la guerre, pas un concours de bonnes intentions, mais au contraire c'est le concours des égoïsmes, des destructions et des trophées sanglants. Le résultat est là, mais il y a toujours de l’espérance quand les armes s'arrêtent, même pour quelques jours.  Il ne nous reste plus qu'à prier pour que le nombre de victimes baisse drastiquement, ce serait déjà un début de désescalade.

    D'une certaine façon, l'intervention russe a été plutôt une bonne chose pour les populations civiles à Damas et sur la côte méditerranéenne, et même les Américains considèrent comme trop risqué de laisser sombrer le régime militaire syrien. Après les accords entre Russes et Turcs, Alep a commencé à retrouver un peu de quiétude même s'il faudra plus d'une génération pour panser les plaies de cette guerre. En 2016 aussi, les Turcs ont enfin compris le danger de laisser prospérer Daech, et c'était le début de la fin à la fin de l'été pour ces pirates de l'islam.

    Ce qui est peut être le plus désolant, c'est de voir les forces loyalistes gagner du terrain et récupérer des territoires perdus, mais sans aucune perspective politique autre que la pérennité du régime, et malgré les efforts incessants de Staffan de Mistura, aucun moyen de trouver une issue favorable aux populations sunnites les plus pauvres, c'est à dire d'avoir une représentation politique suffisamment crédible pour l'avenir. Tout ça reste assez déprimant après tout.

    Voici le rapport en anglais d'Human Rights Watch pour les événements de 2016 en Syrie.


    Events of 2016

    People walk past a damaged site after an airstrike in the besieged rebel-held town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, November 2, 2016. 

    © 2016 Bassam Khabieh/Reuters


    1 commentaire
  • Que peut-on espérer de tout ce chaos, de toute cette destruction, sinon une victoire de la mort, de l’égoïsme, de la haine. Mais quand tout sera détruit, que restera-t-il aux vainqueurs de cette guerre fratricide? que restera-t-il à célébrer?

    Malgré les trêves du 27 février puis du 12 septembre négociées par les Russes et les Américains, qui ont quand même marqué un signal de bonne volonté, un désir de réconciliation, un espoir de paix retrouvée après toute cette malédiction, les deux camps en profiteront encore pour se réarmer, car ils savent que rien ne sera tranquille tant qu'Alep sera partagée, morcelée, comme un bout de viande qui n'en fini pas de se déchirer...on en revient aux fondamentaux de la guerre: siège, encerclement, famine, bombardements, rapports de forces et soutiens des populations ou abandon des populations.

    Comme les armes continuent à alimenter le feu du conflit, même s'il y a un désir d'en finir...mais selon LES CONDITIONS de chaque partie, les discussions -ou semblant de discussions- de paix vont certainement traîner en longueur pendant au moins cinq ans, le temps que le régime s'affaisse, que Poutine disparaisse. C'est ce qui s'est passé en Colombie, quand ils ont compris qu'il n'y avait pas d'issue militaire au conflit.

    Le problème est bien là, le régime espère toujours récupérer les territoires du Nord, symbole de sa déchéance et de son pouvoir pas très légitime, et puis réunifier la Syrie et tenter de la réconcilier avec elle-même en usant de toute la propagande nécessaire, comme Franco qui s'était vu comme le sauveur de l'Espagne en son temps. Trêve de désillusions, le régime actuel ne parviendra pas à ses fins, ou bien à un prix inhumain et pour encore dix années de souffrances.

    De leur côté, les groupes d'opposition sont dispersés et divisés, leur discours se perd au vent. Ils ne tiennent que par la volonté des gens qui refusent (ou ont peur) de laisser Damas reprendre Alep...et par les puissances occidentales et la Turquie et l'Arabie. Il y en a beaucoup qui réclament, qui espèrent, une solution syrienne, entre Syriens, pour régler définitivement et à coup sûr l'équation de l'arrêt des combats, de la réconciliation et de la reconstruction.

    L'espoir réside maintenant dans les poètes, les écrivains, les artistes, qui se sont exprimés avec toute leur intelligence et leur énergie, selon le degré de liberté qu'ils ont rencontré, à l'intérieur ou à l'extérieur de leur pays. Cette créativité libérée est une victoire irréversible sur la mort et la destruction, mais c'est aussi une blessure qui ne se refermera pas de sitôt, qui prendra du temps à cicatriser et à guérir, surtout quand ça touche le cœur...beaucoup de ces êtres sensibles et courageux, qui ne sont pas parfait non plus, sont déchirés quand ils se trouvent obligés de quitter la Syrie. Ces gens là, mais aussi les médecins et avec eux tous les êtres qui prient sincèrement pour la fin des douleurs, ce sont des graines de l'espérance et les fleurs de la vie et les cailloux blancs de la résurgence.

    Il faut dire aussi, qu'au milieu de ce cercle infernal, dont les enfants sont les premières victimes, et malgré les difficultés d'accès sur le terrain, malgré ou à cause de la censure, il y a un énorme élan de compassion et de solidarité, limité il est vrai par les politiques, aussi il n'y a jamais eu à ma connaissance autant d'articles sur un conflit dans le monde, et celui-ci surtout ne cesse de devenir de plus en plus complexe. Preuve en est l'intervention récente et tardive de la Turquie contre Daech, en nettoyant un corridor de 90 km sur sa frontière sud avec la Syrie. La Turquie, impliquée de manière directe, reste cependant prudente en voulant rétablir des relations de confiance avec tous ses voisins y compris l'état syrien et l'Egypte, cherchant aussi à isoler les Kurdes qui représentent la principale menace (à tord ou à raison) pour les turques.

    Seul un dialogue entre toutes les parties, en respectant les intérêts des uns et des autres et dans une perspective d'unité et de stabilité de la Syrie, comme cela a été initié en Autriche par l'organisation indépendante 'International Peace Initiative for Syria' http://www.peaceinsyria.org/, pourrait déboucher sur un plan de paix et de sortie de crise et une nouvelle constitution, mais en oubliant les acteurs actuels, ce qui prendra du temps, beaucoup beaucoup de patience et de bonne volonté.

    votre commentaire

    Suivre le flux RSS des articles
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires