According to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the country is not safe for the return of refugees after a decade of war.
The panel’s findings come amid an upsurge in violence in the north-west, north-east and south of the country, where commissioners have highlighted the appalling return of the siege against civilian populations by pro-government forces .
“The parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity and violate the basic human rights of Syrians,” said the head of the commission of inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro. “The war against Syrian civilians continues and it is difficult for them to find safety or refuge. “
Al Hol Children’s Scandal
Professor Pinheiro also called it “scandalous” that thousands of non-Syrian children born to former ISIS fighters continue to be held in appalling conditions in northeastern Syria.
“Most foreign children remain deprived of their liberty because their country of origin refuses to repatriate them,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“We have the most ratified convention in the world, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is completely forgotten. And democratic states that are ready to comply with this Convention are neglecting the obligations of this Convention in what is happening in Al Hol and other camps and places of detention.
Some 40,000 children continue to be held in camps, including that of Al Hol. Nearly half are Iraqis and 7,800 are from nearly 60 other countries that refuse to repatriate them, according to the report of the commission of inquiry, which covers the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
Blockade and bombardment
Rights experts also condemned a siege by pro-government forces on the city of Dar’a Al-Balad, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising, as well as “siege tactics” in the governorates of Quineitra and Rif Damascus. .
“Three years after the suffering the Commission documented in Eastern Ghouta, another tragedy is unfolding before our eyes in Dar’a Al-Balad,” Commissioner Hanny Megally said, referring to the headquarters of Eastern Ghouta which has lasted more than five years. – and that the commissioners previously qualified as “barbarian and medieval”.
In addition to the dangers posed by heavy artillery bombardments, tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside Dar’a Al-Balad lacked sufficient access to food and health care, forcing many ‘between them to flee, said the commissioners.
Live in fear
In the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn regions of Aleppo, the commissioners described how people lived in fear of car bombs “which frequently explode in overcrowded civilian areas”, targeting markets and busy streets.
At least 243 women, men and children were killed in seven of these attacks during the 12-month reference period, they said, adding that the actual toll would likely be considerably higher.
Indiscriminate shelling also continued, most notably on June 12 when ammunition struck several locations in the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria, killing and injuring many and destroying parts of the hospital al -Shifa.
Insecurity in areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria has also deteriorated, according to the commission of inquiry, with an increase in attacks by extremist “remnants” and conflicts. with Turkish forces.
The division remains
The commissioners noted that although President Assad controls around 70 percent of the territory and 40 percent of the pre-war population, there appears to be “no measure to unite the country or seek reconciliation.” On the contrary.”
Despite a welcome drop in the level of violence compared to previous years, the commission of inquiry underlined the dangers that non-combatants continue to face
High-level rights experts also highlighted the growing discontent and protests of the population, affected by fuel shortages and food insecurity, which has increased by 50% in one year, to 12.4 million, citing data from UNFPA.
“The difficulties that Syrians face, especially in areas where the government has regained control, are starting to manifest themselves in terms of protests from Syrians loyal to the state,” Megally said. They are now saying, “Ten years of conflict, our lives are getting worse rather than better, when will we see the end of this?” “