Parties to the armed conflicts in Syria committed war crimes, other serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses with impunity. Government and allied Russian forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects using aerial bombing and artillery, causing thousands of civilian casualties. There were reports that government forces also used chemical agents. Government forces maintained lengthy sieges that trapped civilians and cut their access to essential goods and services. The authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained thousands, subjecting many to enforced disappearance, prolonged detention and unfair trials, and continued to systematically torture and otherwise ill-treat detainees causing deaths in detention. They also committed unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions. The armed group Islamic State (IS) besieged civilians, carried out direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks, sometimes reportedly using chemical agents, perpetrated numerous unlawful killings, and subjected thousands of women and girls to sexual slavery and other abuses. Other non-state armed groups indiscriminately shelled and besieged predominantly civilian areas. US-led forces carried out air strikes on IS and other targets, in which hundreds of civilians were killed. By the end of the year, the conflict had caused the deaths of more than 300,000 people, displaced 6.6 million people within Syria and forced 4.8 million people to seek refuge abroad.
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