Help stop the horror in Syria
The satellite ‘before’ image shows a densely populated neighbourhood in Aleppo with parks and homes, the ‘after’ image, the rubble that remains after a missile attack.
Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, recently returned from gathering evidence in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Deir Ezzour. The testimonies that she returned with are heartbreaking and reveal atrocious abuses of human rights. While the international community has done little as the brutality across Syria continues, Amnesty International gives a voice to the stories of ordinary Syrians, calling on world leaders to act. Donatella’s research is vital in bringing justice to the perpetrators of war crimes, which allegedly include the use of chemical warfare against civilians.
“All my extended family lived here, we had 10 houses. My mother was badly injured and is now in hospital in Turkey. She does not know that her sons are dead. My uncle, Mohamed Ali, lost 27 members of his family. He has lost his mind; he doesn’t know anything anymore. He is in the countryside; everyone who survived has gone to stay with relatives or friends somewhere. Here, there is only rubble left.” - Sara” al-Wawi
There cannot be any consolation for the grief of Sara and her family. But we need to make sure that their devastation is heard, and continue documenting the atrocities in Aleppo and across Syria. It’s been two and a half years since the conflict in Syria began, almost six million Syrians have been forced from their homes – 4.25 million are displaced within Syria itself. The United Nations has confirmed that over 100,000 people have been killed. There is nowhere to seek safety with schools, hospitals, homes destroyed by air strikes. Donatella's visit to Aleppo and Deir Ezzour was made possible by your generous donations.
Civilian death for military gain
In the governorate of Tartus, civilians situated near the opposition fighters’ headquarters are at risk of summary execution by pro-government forces for military strategic gains. The deliberate killing of 13 civilians from the same family, including six children, in their home, has raised grave concerns for the safety of the area’s population. “[Pro-government forces may be targeting] civilians as a deliberate tactic to forcibly displace as many civilians as possible in order to leave opposition fighters more exposed and without a local support base” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.
While the vast majority of civilian deaths are at the hands of government forces, Donatella also found evidence of abuses by the armed opposition.
You can help stop this horror
This is the true horror of life in Syria. So far, the international community has failed to take effective action to stop the bloodshed. Without evidence that such atrocities are happening, it can continue to disregard the scale and gravity of human rights abuses in the country. Which is why we must keep researching and documenting: as we continue to show the brutal reality of life in Syria, it will become increasingly difficult for the world to ignore it.
We are calling on the UN Security Council to bring the situation before the International Criminal Court. When that time comes, the evidence that you are helping us to collect will be vital in bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice.
- UN team must get full access to investigate chemical weapons claim (22 August 2013)
- Independent report confirms need for Syria to be referred to ICC (5 June 2013)
- Civilians bear the brunt as battle for Aleppo rages (23 August 2012)
- Donatella's Report on her time in Aleppo (23 August 2012)