United Nations: Tens of thousands remain arbitrarily detained in Syria

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A woman walks with a baby stroller in front of the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, the United States, July 20, 2020. The UN headquarters on Monday started its phase one reopening after it had remained physically close over the past four months to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Xinhua/Wang Jiangang)
A woman walks with a baby stroller in front of the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, the United States, July 20, 2020. The UN headquarters on Monday started its phase one reopening after it had remained physically close over the past four months to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Xinhua/Wang Jiangang)

dpa/GNA – Tens of thousands of civilians are still arbitrarily detained in Syria, their fate unknown 10 years after the conflict began, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said on Monday.

“Many are presumed to have died or been executed, while some are believed to be held in inhumane conditions of detention,” according to a report released by the commission, based on more than 2,500 interviews.

Thousands more have been subject to torture, sexual violence or death in detention, it added.

It said the Syrian government of been guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Rebel groups and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which had a prominent role fighting Islamic State extremist group, have also committed war crimes.

The report also accused Islamic State of genocide.

The conflict in Syria began after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used force to quell protests that erupted in March 2011, paving the way for today’s civil war.

The report mainly outlines how the Syrian government and, to a lesser extent, other parties are prolonging the suffering of the detainees’ families.

It added that no warring party in Syria has respected detained persons’ rights in line with international legal obligations.

“This is a national trauma that needs to be urgently addressed by action from the parties and the international community,” said the commission’s chair, Paulo Pinheiro.

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