Amnesty: Forced Syrian Displacement Must Stop

Amnesty International reports that Syrian civilians in many areas of the country had no choice but to leave their place of residence. This happened as the agreements signed between the different factions controlling the country have made it so. The organization said that thousands of such forcibly displaced individuals now survive in horrible conditions. The report was published on November 13.

Wanton civilian abuse

Human rights groups have accused both the Assad Government and rebels of committing abuses against the civilian population during the course of the conflict. Resolutions have been passed by the United Nations Security Council which urge both sides to protect civilians when sieges break down. According to Amnesty, such messages are ignored. It says that the United Nations must refresh its efforts to finish illegal attacks on areas populated by civilians. It said that the UN must impose strict sanctions against war criminals and also impose an arms embargo on Assad. It also suggested that the Syria situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Amnesty said that the Government of Syria has increased its reliance on similar deals as a kind of strategy to compel the opposition to lay down arms and surrender. The conflict in Syria started in March 2011. It was initially a protest against the government headed by President Bashar al-Assad. It quickly escalated into a civil war. Thousands lost their lives. Millions of Syrians were forced to evacuate their homes. Those who stayed behind were forced to endure countless sieges by either rebel fighters or government forces.

Agreements signed

The last few years have witnessed both the government and the rebel factions consenting to allow people to exit besieged areas. Such arrangements have seen coordinated people movements from rebel-controlled areas into government-administered territories. Many sections of the population have also moved from government-controlled towns to rebel-controlled chunks of Idlib province.

According to Amnesty, it went through a total of four agreements signed between the warring sides during the August 2016 to March 2017 period. Such agreements involved areas like eastern Aleppo, Foua, Kefraya, Darayam Zabadani, al-Waer, and Madaya. The report said that in a majority of instances, such movements of people were not done to improve the security of civilians but as a compulsive military need. The implications of such actions mean that these movements violated forced displacement prohibitions as per international humanitarian law. The latter makes it a war crime.

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