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, CIVIC 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. CIVIC 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.



Notes to editors:

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.

For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or



Image courtesy of UNHCR/S. Baldwin
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