© Rodi Said/REUTERS
  • Country profile


Government forces and non-state armed groups committed war crimes, other violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses with impunity in the internal armed conflict. Government forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and attacks that directly targeted civilians, including bombardment of civilian residential areas and medical facilities with artillery, mortars, barrel bombs and, reportedly, chemical agents, unlawfully killing civilians. Government forces also enforced lengthy sieges, trapping civilians and depriving them of food, medical care and other necessities. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and continued to detain thousands, including peaceful activists, human rights defenders, media and humanitarian workers, and children. Some were subjected to enforced disappearance and others to prolonged detention or unfair trials. Security forces systematically tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees with impunity; thousands of detainees died as a result of torture and other ill-treatment between 2011 and 2015. Non-state armed groups that controlled some areas and contested others indiscriminately shelled and besieged predominantly civilian areas. The armed group Islamic State (IS) besieged civilians in government-controlled areas, carried out direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks including suicide bombings, alleged chemical attacks and other bombardment of civilian areas, and perpetrated numerous unlawful killings, including of captives. US-led forces carried out air strikes on IS and other targets, in which scores of civilians were killed. In September, Russia commenced air strikes and sea-launched cruise missile attacks on areas controlled by armed opposition groups and on IS targets, in which hundreds of civilians were killed. By the end of the year, the UN estimated that the conflict had caused the deaths of 250,000 people, forced 7.6 million people to become internally displaced and led 4.6 million people to become refugees abroad.

Read more

Death penalty status


Retains the death penalty in law


Media enquiries

Sara Hashash

Middle East and North Africa Press Officer, +44 207 413 5511

Our Offices

Amnesty International Secretariat Office

View All Contact Info

End the horror in Syrian prisons

Act now

Send an email

End the horror in Syrian prisons

Act Now