Syria

The Turkish military has been running an operation called 'Olive Branch' in Syria since 20th January 2018. Reports from the region show the human cost of the ongoing operation, including hundreds of dead as well as injured; and show how it has fuelled conflict in the region. War Resisters' International stands in solidarity with activists in Turkey supporting peace and opposing war in Syria, Turkey and elsewhere. Here we share a statement from the Human Rights Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, which WRI's Turkey Working Group endorses, on the ongoing military operation in Northern Syria.

Syria is going through the deadliest conflict that the 21st century has witnessed so far, with half a million people killed, over a million injured, and more than 12 million displaced. Millions of Syrians escaped from war and sought asylum in other countries. In this CO-Update, we are sharing the stories of two of those who could escape from conscription in Syria, and are currently based in Germany.

War Resisters' International's Council have made a statement in solidarity with the Syrian civilian population who are victims of the ongoing war. We promise to act in support of individuals and grassroots' groups who, in the midst of violence, continue to resist militarisation and war, persist in the nonviolent struggle against the dictatorship and for democracy in Syria, and show the way to peace.

Read the full statement here...

Carol Thompson

The bright smile. Contagious laughter. Her sunshine drew others to her, to debate and argue, to learn and ponder. Energetic resolution, a passion for justice, for constant giving define Kayla Mueller; not her capture by ISIS, her torture and tragic death at age 26.

The Syrian Human Rights Network has accused the Syrian regime of arresting civilians for forced army conscription, saying it has documented more than 1,000 cases of arrest for this purpose in the past six weeks alone.

Children are also being recruited by different warring parties, UNICEF say. At least several hundred children were recruited in 2015, and thousands killed or injured in the conflict.

Amnesty International press release, sourced from here.

Decades of poorly regulated arms flows into Iraq as well lax controls on the ground have provided the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) with a large and lethal arsenal that is being used to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty International has said in a new report.  

At the end of July, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad announced an amnesty for Syrian men who have previously evaded conscription to the military – an offence punishable by imprisonment or, in some cases, death. After four years of war the Syrian military's ranks are depleted, with some estimating that, due to deaths and defections the size of the military has been halved since 2011. Defectors now abroad have two months to return, those still inside Syria have one month – there were no details given for draft evaders.

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