The casualties of violations in Syria decreased by 50 percent in November compared to October. Attacks against civilians also plummeted by 60 percent and hostilities between parties to the conflict decreased by 73 percent.
However, casualties from war remnants increased by 77 percent compared to October, and the activity of the Islamic State (ISIS) increased by 53 percent. The rate of arrest decreased by 20 percent based on analysis of data recorded by the Monitoring and Documentation Department of North Press in November and compared to October.
The Department’s monthly report highlights the most prominent human rights violations documented in November, based on information obtained from a network of field sources across Syria.
The report also contains a toll of human rights violations, including killings and arbitrary arrests by parties to the conflict, as well as, statistics on individuals who lost their lives due to war remnants deliberately planted by certain parties in areas under their control to protect themselves from hostile attacks, but subsequently cause monthly civilian casualties.
In addition to indiscriminate retaliatory shelling by parties to the conflict according to their areas of control and its consequences and damages on civilians and public property. The report also tackles ISIS activities and other issues that affect the rights of the Syrian people and undermine their security and stability.
Victims of violations in Syria
In November, the department recorded the killing and injury of 727 individuals, both civilians and military personnel, of which 319 were killed and 408 were injured either by direct attacks and indiscriminate shelling, or by torture, abuse, or other forms of inhumane treatment. All civilians were extrajudicially killed either by parties to the conflict or by unidentified gunmen amidst security chaos and the presence of multiple controlling powers, making it easy for criminals to escape punishment due to the absence of accountability.
Toll of victims
The number of civilian victims amounted to 313 individuals, where 111 were killed, (including 16 children, 27 women, 67 men and one activist) and 202 were wounded (including 26 children and 16 women). Civilian casualties in Syrian cities were recorded as follows :
The highest number of civilian casualties was recorded in Manbij (50), followed by Idlib (47), the northern countryside of Aleppo (30), Latakia (28), Aleppo (23), Daraa (22), Homs (18), Tel Abyad (16), Hasakah (14), Deir ez-Zor (12), Raqqa (12), Afrin (12), Damascus (11), Suwayda (10), Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) (6), and Hama (2).
As for military casualties, the total number amounted to 414, with 208 killed and 206 injured. The casualties are distributed among the four controlling powers in Syria.
91 military personnel were killed from the Syrian government forces, and 68 were injured.
Moreover, 50 militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly al-Nusra Front) were killed and 78 others were wounded.
As for Turkish-backed armed opposition factions, aka the Syrian National Army (SNA) 10 were killed and 26 were injured.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) lost 12 fighters and 16 others were wounded.
42 militants from Iranian-backed militias were killed and 17 others were injured. Two ISIS militants were killed, one U.S. soldier was injured and one non-Syrian militant was killed.
The number of casualties caused by remnants of war rose by 77 percent compared to October. The Department documented the killing of 13 individuals, including two children, three men, one woman, and seven military personnel, in addition to the injury of 40 others, including seven children, 15 men, 18 military personnel.
In November, bombardment by parties to the conflict dropped by 73 percent compared to October. A total of 43 sites were targeted with 50 strikes in areas held by the government forces. Israel conducted 10 strikes on eight sites of the government forces, two strikes on two sites of the Lebanese Hezbollah, and two strikes on two sites of the Iranian-backed militias.
The HTS attacked 12 sites of the government forces with 12 strikes, while the SDF targeted one site with one strike. Unknown actors launched five strikes on three sites of the government forces, and one strike on one site of the Iranian-backed militias. The US-led Global Coalition to defeat ISIS also carried out 11 strikes on nine locations of the Iranian militias. The Turkish forces conducted six strikes on five locations of the government forces. The bombing that occurred in these areas caused 58 casualties, including 45 killed and 15 injured.
In HTS-held areas, 90 sites were targeted with 114 strikes. The government forces launched 75 strikes on 64 locations. Russian forces carried out 39 strikes on 26 sites. These attacks led to 153 casualties, including 59 killed and 94 injured.
In SNA-held areas 8 sites were targeted with nine strikes. The government forces launched two strikes on a Turkish base. The SDF carried out four strikes on four SNA locations and two strikes on two Turkish bases. The SNA factions targeted one residential site for civilians with one strike. These strikes resulted in 13 casualties, including five killed and eight injured.
In areas held by the SDF, 72 locations were attacked with 120 strikes. The government forces targeted eight locations with 28 strikes, and the SNA factions attacked three locations with three strikes.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, targeted seven U.S. bases with 21 strikes, and three bases of the Global Coalition with five strikes. Iranian-backed militias targeted two bases of the Global Coalition with two strikes and one SDF site with one strike. Unknown individuals targeted one site of the Global Coalition with three strikes, two U.S. bases with three strikes, and 12 SDF posts with 12 strikes. Turkey targeted 33 sites with 42 strikes. These attacks resulted in 28 casualties, including eight killed and 41 injured.
Arrests in November dropped by 20 percent compared to October. The Monitoring and Documentation Department recorded the detention of 328 individuals in Syria by parties to the conflict. The highest percentage of arbitrary detention was recorded in HTS-held areas with 33 percent of the total rate of arrests. HTS detained 111 individuals, of which 37 were military personnel and 74 civilians, including two children.
Most of the charges made by the HTS against civilians were related to alleged collaboration with anti-HTS entities and incitement against the extremist organization. Military personnel were arrested on charges of collaborating with ‘foreign entities’, as well as embezzlement and misuse of administrative positions for personal gains. Seven of the detainees were handed over to HTS by Turkish authorities, who had captured them while attempting to cross into Turkish territory from HTS-held areas.
As for SNA-held areas, the factions arrested 73 people, including six women and three children under various charges such as previous dealings with the AANES, targeting SNA factions, criticizing Turkey’s educational and cultural policies in SNA-held areas, sowing sedition and discord, and instigating against Turkey’s presence in the region. In addition, some were arrested on unknown charges.
In the SDF-held areas, 18 people were arrested, seven of whom suspected of working with ISIS.
In government-held areas, 35 people were arrested, including one child, four activists, and 18 military personnel. Many of them were arbitrarily detained without proper warrants. The charges’ of the military personnel included refusing to cooperate with Iranian-backed militias in Quneitra. Meanwhile, civilians were charged with dealing with foreign currencies.
Additionally, the government forces arrested the aforementioned child after finding pictures of anti-government protests of Suwayda in his phone. The activists were detained on charges of insulting national symbols and the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, while others were arrested for organizing a sit-in in solidarity with Gaza without obtaining prior security approval.
Meanwhile, the Turkish forces arrested 91 people, of whom 36 including eight women were detained by Turkish border guards while attempting to cross into Turkish territory. The Turkish intelligence arrested 55 out of the 91 detained people, including one child and eight women, in addition to two Iraqi militants who were handed over by the HTS.
Most of the charges were related to dealing with the SDF and espionage for ‘hostile entities’. The number of people transferred to Turkish prisons on charges of affiliation with the SDF amounted to 27, including five women and one child.
ISIS attacks in Syria in November increased by 53 percent compared to October, with a total of 23 attacks. ISIS claimed responsibility for five attacks, and conducted 13 against the government forces, five against Iranian-backed militias, four against the SDF, and one attack against civilians. The attacks took place as follows: Homs (14), three in each of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, and one in each of Hasakah, Daraa, and Manbij.
ISIS activities in Syria led to 136 casualties, 68 military personnel and two men were killed, whereas 64 military personnel and 2 children were injured. The casualties were a result of either direct attacks or the use of IEDs and mines.
The victims of direct attacks amounted to 112, including 64 military personnel and two men killed, and 46 military personnel injured. Mines and war remnants planted by ISIS led to the killing of four military personnel and the injury of 18 others, in addition to two children.
Security operations against ISIS amounted to 10. The SDF conducted 6 operations, including 4 in cooperation with the Global Coalition. During these operation, seven ISIS suspects were arrested. The government forces conducted four operations, resulting in the killing of eight individuals.
Violations of SNA and Turkish forces in Syria
During November, SNA factions killed one man and injured 31 others, including four women and four children.
The factions also carried out 19 cases of appropriation in areas under their control. The Hamza Division seized two kidney dialysis machines on one of the roads leading to the city of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain), northeastern Syria. The Sultan Suleiman Shah Division (al-Amshat) seized 4 trucks loaded with heating materials intended for 170 families residing in an IDP camp. Furthermore, the Sultan Murad Division seized seven aid trucks. Meanwhile, 14 cases of seizure of olive crops were recorded, in addition to two cases of seizure of civilian’s properties in the city of Afrin.
The department recorded 18 cases where SNA factions imposed various sums of royalties on owners of olive trees and olive shipping trucks. The factions imposed royalties in exchange for the release of detainees. The al-Amshat faction imposed 4 royalties, the Faylaq al-Majd (Majd Crops) imposed 3, each of the Hamza Division, Sultan Murad Division, as well as the Suqour al-Shamal Brigade and the Ahrar al-Sharqiya factions imposed 2 royalties. The Jaysh al-Sharqiya and Ahrar al-Sham imposed one royalty each, not to mention all SNA factions imposed a joint levy.
The Monitoring and Documentation Department of North Press also recorded 22 cases of robbery, 19 of which targeted olive crops. Moreover, the factions cut down 554 fruitful and forest trees in Afrin.
Turkish forces continue to violate human rights and international humanitarian law in Syria by conducting indiscriminate shelling on Northeast Syria and directly targeting asylum seekers. These actions resulted in 37 casualties, killing seven people, including one child, and wounding 30, including three women and one child.
The Turkish border guards targeted asylum seekers with direct gunfire, resulting in the killing of four people, including one child, and the injury of 14 others, including two women and one child, while attempting to cross the Syrian-Turkish border.
The shelling conducted by Turkish forces in northern Syria resulted in 19 casualties, where two military personnel and one man were killed, and 16 others were injured, including one woman and four military personnel.
International and regional actions on Syria
In November, several human rights reports, statements, political and humanitarian resolutions related to Syria were issued. Various UN and international meetings were held, in addition to the occurrence of changes in stances and decisions concerning the country.
On Nov. 3, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled ‘The Full Costs of Turkey’s Bombing Campaign in Northeast Syria’, following Turkish attacks on Northeast Syria. The report highlighted the burden faced by civilians due to continuous Turkish attacks on the region.
The organization emphasized that Turkish forces “have repeatedly failed to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.”
HRW urged Turkey to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the strikes that resulted in civilian casualties. Moreover, it called on Ankara to provide adequate redress, where appropriate, to victims and their families, and to hold accountable “those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law arising from such attacks.”
On Nov. 28, the United Nations’ Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (OSRSG CAAC) issued a report, shedding light on six grave violations committed against children. The violations included child recruitment, denial of humanitarian access, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, killing and maiming, and attacks on schools and hospitals. The recommendations in the report urge the authorities to stop the violations against Syrian children.
On Nov. 16, the International Court of Justice ordered the Syrian government to “take all measures within its power to prevent acts of torture and other cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment.” This came as a result of a case filed by the Netherlands and Canada, accusing the Syrian government of involvement in a prolonged campaign to torture its citizens. The Court’s order aims to protect potential victims as the case accuses Syria of violating the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
On Nov. 15, French criminal investigative judges issued an international warrant for the arrest of Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher al-Assad, de facto leader of the 4th Armored Division, and two other senior officers, General Ghassan Abbas, Director of Branch 450 of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), and General Bassam al-Hassan, Presidential Advisor for Strategic Affairs and liaison officer between the Presidential Palace and the SSRC, for complicity in committing war crimes linked to the use of banned chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.
The investigation in France was initiated in response to a complaint filed in March 2021 by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), an independent non-governmental non-profit organization. The compliant was based on testimonies from survivors of the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attacks.