The Syria Campaign

Who’s Killing Civilians In Syria?

A look at the data behind the headlines of what the UN calls the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis”

“It’s complicated”. This is often how Syria is described and these words paint a picture of mass killing on all sides. If we look at media headlines we assume that ISIS is behind the violence.

So five years into the killing we have looked at the data on who is killing who. The truth is different – and shocking. The vast majority of Syrian civilians killed – 95% according to human rights groups – have been killed by the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

This matters as we enter peace talks for Syria. All efforts at stopping the violence will fail unless we understand where it is coming from. The story of the data is unarguable – if we want to stop the killing of civilians in Syria we have to address the brutality of the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

Have a look at the data from the Syrian Network for Human Rights:

2011 – 2016: Who’s Killing Civilians In Syria?

One of the barrel bombs fell through a shaft in their home, filling the ventilation with chlorine as it broke open. Their basement became a makeshift gas chamber.

Dr Mohamed Tennari 32 years old, Idlib [as told to Syrian American Medical Society]

2011 – 2016: Who’s Killing Children In Syria?

I was captured by the police and put in prison for 22 days. I was tortured and I saw children dying. I’ve got scars on my feet, chest and back. There were hundreds of us in prison – I was in a big cell with the other children. The youngest ones were nine or ten, they had been captured. I was beaten up every day, and they used electricity too.

2011 – 2016: Who’s Killing Women In Syria?

I used to hear a woman screaming. [Maisa saw the woman, handcuffed and naked, alone in a cell]. Once they brought her to our cell and made her beat the other women. Her body was defaced. It was all blue.

Maisa, 30 year old Nurse from Damascus, [as told to Human Rights Watch]

2011 – 2016: Who’s Torturing Civilians To Death In Syria?

The more I screamed and cried, the more he was aroused. After he finished [molesting me], he kept beating me on my feet. I fell down on the ground. He kicked me with his boots. For seven days, I couldn’t walk on my feet.

Layla, 21 years old imprisoned by the Syrian Government, [as told to Humans Right Watch]

2011 – 2016: Who’s Killing Media Activists In Syria?

My camera is my weapon against the regime.

Noureddine Hashim, 21. Killed by Government shelling [as told to The Committee to Protect Journalists]

2011 – 2016: Who’s Killing Medics In Syria?

I don’t get how a pilot presses the button to bomb a hospital. How does he sleep, how does he eat? And then he comes back and bombs the people who are trying to help the victims.

Dr. Saoud, Idlib [as told to the New York Times]

The brutal crackdown of the Assad regime on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in 2011 has led to the deaths of over 450,000 people, the displacement of over 12 million – half the country – and the emergence of violent, extremist groups like ISIS.

It is impossible to protect civilians, defeat ISIS or tackle the “refugee crisis” without bringing peace to Syria. It is impossible to bring peace to Syria with the Assad regime in power.

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