As the Syrian uprising is taking a monstrous form, it is only leading to increased war crimes and an upsurge of atrocities against humanity. The Syrian war that has left several thousands dead and rendered many others homeless is also being suspected for war crimes committed by both the government and the rebels.
Many Syrian residents have been either killed or detained illegally in attacks. When the uprising had barely showed its head initially, the Syrian forces arrested and tortured about fourteen schoolchildren for writing popular sayings from Egypt and Tunisia’s conflicts. A silent demonstration protesting against this incident was held where the forces opened fired, killing four civilians and injuring several others.
As protestors demanded for equal status and democracy, bloodshed and mass killings along with illegal detentions were witnessed throughout the country. Daraa, a Syrian city, suffered extensive carnage that led to more violent protests from the civilians, with the situation worsening in the city. In March this year (2012), Maher, President’s Assad’s younger brother, attempted to suppress the protests in Daraa, leaving over 3500 civilians dead.
There were also scores of cases reported in relation to relentless torture by the Syrian forces. The Human Rights Watch published a report stating that almost 27 detention sites have been located in the country since the uprising began in 2011. With protestors and civilians being kept in these centres for months, the UN clause providing the right to an individual ‘to know the reason of their detention, arrest or sudden confinement’ has been clearly violated.
The detainees in the government’s centres include young people under the age of 30, women and children. Another report by the Human Rights Watch’s monitoring group states that over 500 protestors have been tortured mercilessly and killed. The estimated number of victims of such war crimes in Syria may be well beyond 20,000, though an exact figure is yet to be ascertained.
Those released after undergoing months of severe torture have said that the torture methods were appalling and they were given treatment worse than that given to animals. Electric shocks and rigorous beating with bent wires and sticks have been said to be the norm, while they have also been forced to sleep in congested cells.
The International Federation of Human Rights, in its report, stated that the government has even deprived the civilians of medical facilities, food and other basic amenities. The Amnesty International’s report affirmed that even those civilians injured in the conflict have been denied access to hospitals by the hospital staff and government officers.
As part of the peacemaking operations of the Arab States League, the Syrian government relented to international pressures and permitted independent monitoring to monitoring groups. However, detainees have been shifted to much secured cells that are inaccessible to these groups.
Several instances of such human rights violation and a deliberate contempt of the rules and regulations set by international communities and organisations have led to the various sanctions on Syria.