Syria

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Overview

Parties to the conflict continued to commit with impunity serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross human rights abuses. Government forces carried out direct attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and gas facilities, and indiscriminate attacks through aerial bombing and artillery shelling in Idlib governorate and western Aleppo countryside. They also besieged civilians in southern Syria and restricted and denied civilian access to humanitarian aid across the country. Security forces arbitrarily subjected refugees returning to their homes to unlawful detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearance. Government authorities continued to arbitrarily detain tens of thousands of people, including peaceful activists, humanitarian workers, lawyers and journalists, subjecting many to enforced disappearance. The Syrian National Army (SNA), supported by Turkey, continued to subject civilians in the northern cities of Afrin and Ras al-Ayn to arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and abduction. In the north-east, the Autonomous Administration led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) arbitrarily detained children in al-Hol camp and transferred them to prisons where they were detained with adults. In the north-west, the opposition armed group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham arbitrarily detained and harassed activists and journalists. The government failed to provide a robust response to curb the spread of Covid-19 and blocked access to medical care for thousands in south and north-east Syria. Tens of thousands of internally displaced people were at risk of contracting Covid-19 due to dire living conditions. Some European countries investigated and prosecuted individuals suspected of committing crimes under international law in Syria through their national courts under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”. The death penalty remained in force and executions were reported.

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Retentionist

Retains the death penalty in law

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