Daraya Rose Protest
Ten years on the Syrians revolution
In mid-March 2011, Syria witnessed an unprecedented spark of popular protests, which quickly reached most Syrian cities, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians came out carrying slogans calling for change. These demonstrations were absolutely peaceful, despite the excessive violence shown by the authority since the first days, as these demonstrations were met with live bullets, arbitrary arrests and torture leading to death, before moving on to the use of all kinds of weapons, including the warplane and even the navy!
This violence on the part of the army and the security services has pushed thousands of members of these institutions to defect, some of whom joined the protests, prompting the regime to reduce dependence on the regular army, and resorting to auxiliary formations, known as the “Shabiha”, which are militias that were formed. Mostly on a sectarian basis, and the powers to commit war crimes were granted without restrictions, which contributed to raising the level and nature of the violations that Syria has known, especially in the period from 2011-2014.
With the transformation of the movement into an armed form, and the withdrawal of most of the Syrian lands from the control of the regime, it resorted to the use of the scorched earth policy, through the use of indiscriminate and targeted weapons, the most prominent of which was the “barrel bombs” weapon, which caused the destruction of more than a million homes and the destruction of thousands of vital centers, including schools, hospitals and mosques.
The Syrian regime has also used the siege policy on a large scale, as dozens of Syrian cities and regions have witnessed periods of siege, some of which lasted for several years, and hundreds of people died due to malnutrition.
These crimes were not all signed by the regime alone, as the Iranian forces played a direct role in the battle against the Syrians from the first days, through logistical and security roles, before they turned into direct forms at the beginning of 2012, when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard regiments began arriving in Syria, accompanied by thousands of Shiite militias from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In the fall of 2015, Russia also intervened directly, after years of political and logistical support. The Russian warplanes contributed to preventing the fall of the regime at that time, according to Russian statements, and this was done through the violent use of warplanes, and the systematic targeting of markets, medical systems, and various population groups.
ISIS also attended as one of the prominent actors responsible for committing crimes against Syrians, especially in areas outside the regime’s control, in which dozens of massacres were committed, and it had a prominent role in reducing the area of control of the opposition.
These accumulated events have led to the killing of at least half a million people, and the injury of at least two million others, and has also led to the emigration and displacement of about half of the Syrian people, of whom about 8 million have migrated outside Syria.
Despite this unprecedented scale of violations, the international community has not only failed to stop them, but has also failed to impose the simplest accountability mechanisms for the perpetrators, and has continuously supported the move towards a political solution with these same perpetrators, without implementing any transitional justice project.
The violations that Syria witnessed during the past ten years constituted a test for the international human rights system, and a test for the values of the international community, as human rights concepts collapsed in the face of political consensus and the economic interests of the actors.
The failure of the system of accountability for perpetrators in Syria means a reproduction of violence in it, one that cannot be confined to its borders only, as previous years have shown.
The Syrian Human Rights Committee, while commemorating the Syrians’ demands for dignity, freedom and justice, and recollecting their sacrifices throughout the past decade, affirms that the prosecution of those responsible for violations is the only possible solution, and that any attempts to resuscitate them will only be a recipe for the continuation of the cycle of violence and counter-violence.
Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC)