Syria Publications

Reports & Briefs

Waiting for No One:  Civilian Survival Strategies in Syria
7 April 2016  |  Report

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, over a quarter million people have lost their lives, well over a million have been injured, and more than half of the prewar population has been displaced (in many cases more than one time). At the same time, humanitarian assistance inside Syria virtually vanished due to fighting, aerial attacks, kidnapping, and restrictions on the flow of aid.

Syria: Civilian Harm and Assistance
16 September 2013  |  Policy Brief

The horror of the Syrian conflict is reflected in the accounts we heard from its people. The consequences of the conflict—both short and long term—are devastating for Syrians trying to cope with loss of breadwinners, their homes, loss of livelihood, and disruption of access to education and healthcare. Now, Syrians have to radically change their assumptions about how they will live and provide for themselves and their families. They are and will be in desperate need of assistance to live their lives with dignity. Given the persisting conflict, with no end in sight, it is challenging to plan for assisting civilians who’ve been harmed. But it’s incumbent upon the international community to plan for both short and long-term help as Syria’s future very much depends on the strength of it people. Planning to assist Syrians needs to be considered now in order for it to be effective when the Syrian people are in a position to begin rebuilding their lives. This brief is intended to get policymakers, donor governments, and equipped civil society to begin thinking through what they can do to help individual Syrians and their families post-harm.

Opposition Aid in Syria: Recommendations on Civilian Security
07 March 2013  |  Policy Brief

Committing aid and technical assistance to the Syrian opposition must be matched with a commitment to good civilian protection and security practices. This brief offers specific considerations under three categories of known assistance: technical assistance to the armed opposition, provision of material support to political opposition, provision of material support to armed opposition.

Syria: Minimizing Civilian Harm During Military Intervention 
26 February  2013  |  Policy Brief

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the international community has debated the need for, and potential efficacy of, military intervention to stop the Assad regime's brutal suppression of the political opposition and to prevent atrocities against the civilian population. Center for Civilians in Conflict with support from the American Society of International Law (ASIL) convened a roundtable of knowledgeable of policymakers, military planners, humanitarian and protection experts, and legal academics to consider military options for foreign involvement in Syria specifically through a civilian harm mitigation lens. The five options included: training and equipping the armed opposition; conducting limited airstrikes; deploying Patriot batteries around Syria; creating no-fly and no-drive zones; and deploying an international security force post-conflict.

Issue Brief: Civilian Protection in Syria
06 December 2012  |  Policy Brief

This short issue brief provides general background information on the civilian protection mindset of Syria’s armed opposition, as well as recommendations for governments and others considering providing weapons to the rebels. It is not an exhaustive guide, but rather a rough assessment meant to highlight critical issues and civilians protection concerns as they pertain to the rebels. Research for this brief was conducted during two field missions to assess civilian protection issues associated with the Syrian conflict. 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. CIVIC 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.  Most interviewees requested anonymity.


Syrian Voices

Dispatches from Syria were designed by Jessica Whiteford with creative direction from Caroline Kavit.

Dispatches from Syria: Voices of the Most Vulnerable  |  December 2013

Dispatches from Syria: Explosive Remnants of War  |  December 2013

Dispatches from Syria: In the Aftermath of Indiscriminate Attacks  |  December 2013

Dispatches from Syria: Picking up the Pieces  |  December 2013



Backgrounder: Civilian Harm Tracking
August 2013


Testimony & Advocacy

Public Acknowledgement and Investigations of U.S. “Targeted Killings” and Drone Strikes
13 May 2015  |  Joint Letter to President Obama

After the President Obama's administration publicly acknowledged and apologized for the deaths of two civilians—U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein and Italian citizen Giovanni Lo Porto—in a January 2015 strike in Pakistan, CIVIC urged for the adoption of the same approach to all other U.S. counterterrorism strikes in which civilians have been injured or killed—regardless of their nationalities.

CIVIC Remarks at SOCOM Legal Conference
27 February 2015  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Legal Conference on February 25, 2015.



Don’t Forget the Civilians in the Fight Against ISIS
16 July 2014 
 |  Atlantic Council  |  Sahr Muhammedally


Press Releases

The UN Security Council Must do More to End Attacks on Civilians in Syria  |  26 June 2015

UN Security Council Should Take Immediate Action Against Indiscriminate Attacks in Syria  |  22 June 2015

Eighty-three Percent of Syria's Lights Extinguished After Four Years of Crisis  |  12 March 2015

US: Civilian Protection Should be Prioritized in Syria and Iraq Operations  |  26 September 2014 

Humanitarian, Human Rights and Peace Groups Welcome Unanimous Security Council Resolution on Syria  |  22 February 2014 

Syria Must Allow UN Access to Atreas of Possible Chemical Weapons Use  |  22 August 2013 

Syrian Transition Roadmap Must Include Sustainable Assistance to War Victims  |  14 August 2013

Lethal Aid to Syrian Opposition Should be Conditional on Civilian Protection Training  |  14 June 2013

US Aid to Syrian Opposition Should Include Training on Civilian Protection  |  01 March 2013

Civilians Fleeing Syria Face Obstacles to Medical Care  |  02 July 2012 

Syrian Civilians Say Risks Increasing  |  29 June 2012 



Agreement on Chemical Weapons Alone Will Not End Suffering in Syria  |  12 September 2013

Assisting Syrian War Victims  |  14 August 2013

A Check on Lethal Aid to Syria  |  22 May 2013  

What to do for Syrians While the World Debates  |  07 May 2013

What We Should All Want to Know about a Military Intervention for Syria  |  12 April 2012