Nearly two years after peaceful protests began in Syria, the country has spiraled into civil war with violence and destruction affecting the civilian population. News organizations, human rights groups, and our own interviews with civilians report incidents of civilian harm, as well as ongoing violations of international law. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the country, many escaping through mined borders.
Our team conducted field missions to assess civilian protection issues associated with the Syrian conflict both in and outside the country. First, in June and July 2012, Center staff traveled to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to assess pressing humanitarian and protection concerns facing civilians fleeing Syria. The Center also began assessing the impact of the armed opposition’s tactics on the civilian population inside Syria. Center staff returned to the region in September 2012, including travel into Syria, to dig deeper into rebel factions’ civilian protection mind set. The results of these interviews can be seen in our Syria protection brief.
Center staff interviewed Syrian refugees from many confessional backgrounds and their host families, leaders of the political and armed opposition, Syrian army defectors, UN agencies, local and international NGO staff, government and military officials, law makers, diplomats, doctors and nurses, journalists, civil society activists and religious leaders.
Our interviews highlight the particularly dire state of medical care in Syria, with few or no options for civilians harmed. More broadly, our research focuses on highlighting critical issues and civilian protection concerns, including warring party conduct.
All images on this page courtesy of Nicole Tung/Center for Civilians in Conflict