Syria

Advocacy

Government forces, including the National Defense Forces and pro-Government militias, and six armed groups are currently listed. In June, the Council will receive its monthly briefings on the humanitarian situation, political process, and use of chemical weapons in Syria. The humanitarian situation remains deeply concerning, especially since the mid-April escalation of hostilities in northwestern Syria, which has displaced at least 180,000. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of civilians – including vulnerable groups with limited mobility, such as female-headed households, elderly, and persons with disabilities – are effectively trapped due to restrictions on freedom of movement, fears of reprisals, and closure of the Turkish border to refugees. At least 134 children have been killed since the start of the year, and at least 18 health facilities, three settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and one refugee camp have reportedly been affected by the recent hostilities. Due to attacks, at least 16 humanitarian organizations have suspended some operations in Idlib, exacerbating an already dire situation where at least 1.5 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. Most medical facilities in the area have suspended their activities, putting additional strains on those that continue to function as needs grow. According to local humanitarian partners in the area, more than 65 percent of schools in Hama have been forced to close, preventing 250,000 students from completing the school year. On May 24, a group of 44 Syrian and international NGOs called for an immediate end to attacks on civilians and hospitals in Idlib. Also of serious concern is the situation of approximately 73,000 displaced civilians – 94 percent of whom are women and children – housed in the overcrowded Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria. Many are children of foreign nationalities whose parents were associated with the Islamic State (IS), and as a result, they face restrictions on their freedom of movement, stigmatization, and other rights violations.

UN Security Council Members should:

  • Demand that all parties, including Russian and Syrian Government forces, immediately halt attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools;
  • Exert pressure on warring parties to facilitate cross-border and cross-line humanitarian access, in order to allow aid agencies to reach all communities in need, in compliance with Resolution 2393;
  • Call on all parties to immediately cease the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects and inherently indiscriminate weapons, to mitigate the risk of civilian harm;
  • Remind all parties that all children, including those suspected of association with armed groups, are entitled to special care and protection under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and should be treated first and foremost as victims;
  • Call on countries of origin to safely repatriate foreign children and their families, following individual rights-based needs assessments, for the purposes of prosecution, rehabilitation and/or reintegration, as appropriate, and in line with international law and standards.

Belgium, Germany, and Kuwait lead on humanitarian issues on Syria.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: June 2019.

UN Action

Year listed: 2012
Action Plans signedNo
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Syria: 2014
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Syria: 2014

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
 Government forces, including the National Defence Forces and pro-government militias* a,b,d a,b,c,d b,d,c b,c,d b,c,d a,b,c,d
Free Syrian Army (FSA) – affiliated groups* a a a a a
Ahrar al-Sham a,b a,b a,b a,b
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) a,b a,b,c,d a,b,c,d a,b,c,d,e
Nursah Front (also known as Jabhat Fath al-Sham) a,b a,b a,b a,b
People’s Protection Units (YPG) a a a a
Army of Islam a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.

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