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crimes against humanity
water cannons
armed gangs
spray painting
syrian forces
un security council
Human Rights Watch To Syrian Government: Your Regime Is Guilty Of Crimes Against Humanity
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Human Rights Watch to Syrian Government: Your Regime is Guilty Of Crimes Against Humanity

According to a nearly sixty page document to be released by Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government is guilty of what are being described as crimes against humanity that are ranging from illegal detentions to the unprovoked shooting of demonstrators. That report, titled “We’ve Never Seen Such Horrors: Crimes Versus Humanity in Daraa” is being filed with the UN Security Council for review. The report contains the first hand accounts, garnered from interviews with over fifty eyewitnesses as well as videos and other sources.

The report is focusing on the province of Daraa, including the anti-government protests that began in mid March before they spread across the entire country of Syria. The government is alleged to have ordered the security forces to crack down on the protesters. Those orders possibly included shoot to kill orders during the height of the protests in the city. There have been nearly 900 deaths in Syria so far with over four hundred of those deaths in Daraa alone.

One of the most notable and outrageous of the actions was the detaining and torturing of 15 teen-aged boys accused of spray painting grafitti on buildings in Daraa province. That grafitti called for the downfall of the current Syrian government. In mid March, several thousand people marched from a local mosque, demanding that these children be released. The protesters also demanded greater political freedoms as well as accusing the government of mass instances of corruption. Syrian forces used water cannons and other non-lethal means at first, trying to get the crowd to disperse. When those methods failed, they opened fire. As the crowd intensified, the security forces stopped giving warnings before shooting into the crowd- and from videos taken during the protest, it is evident that harm was intended.

The official stance to the report’s allegations is denial, with the Syrian government saying that it was others, including armed gangs or terrorist groups that actually killed the protesters.

The Human Rights Watch report is also documenting the accusations of torture which ranged from degradation, threats and beating. Prisoners were also given electric shocks. A male prisoner reported that he had been sodomized with a baton by one of the guards. In one of the most chilling aspects of the report however, several of the witnesses have mentioned a possible mass grave somewhere near the Daraa province.

The Syrian government also blocked communications so that the abuses could not be documented, preventing journalists from coming in and confiscating cell phones so damning video could not get out. Prayer was also banned in some areas during that time, with no one allowed to go to their mosques.Some utilities and some supplies were also blocked during that siege with parts of Syria still without some services.

Human Rights Watch is calling on crackdowns on the Syrian government and the security forces. They are urging the UN Security council to investigate these allegation and if necessary, impose sanctions.


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