Violations Documentation Center Ghouta Office Attacked

Damascus Ghouta, July 22nd, 2016
A Syrian government jet fighter attacked one of the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in Syria offices in Damascus Ghouta with two missiles in the afternoon on Saturday, July 22, 2016. According to confirmed evidence, the attack occurred during an attack on civilian areas in Doma city in eastern Ghota. The attack led to considerable material damage and the destruction of the office.
VDC office director, Thaer Hijazi, mentioned that “Doma city and the rest of eastern Ghota cities are under a heavy attack for a week now, where the frequency was noticeably increased during the last week. Yesterday the main city market was attacked resulting in nine deaths, while today the attack started at noon and in the beginning focused on the city outer neighbourhoods but moved to the city centre later.
The total number of attacks today was twelve, resulting in 70 injuries and 4 deaths. In the afternoon, one of the VDC offices was attacked by two missiles launched from Syrian government jet fighters. The attacked building hosts other civil organization offices like the Local Development Office, The Hurras Network, an office for Rising for Freedom, and an office for the Syrian Non-Violence Movement. The attack did not result in any human casualties but considerable material damage and the destruction of the office.”
The VDC strongly condemns this bombing, and it considers it to be in line with the other systematic and continues hostile activities carried out by the Syrian government against the civilians in Ghota area. The VDC ensures the continuity of its independent legal work in documenting the violations against human rights and the International Humanitarian Law in the Ghota and the rest of Syria from all parties to ensure the fulfilment of its main objective of bringing about justice for the victims and hold perpetrators for the war crimes accountable.

8300 Civilians in Immense Danger in Daraya, Syria

Daraya, July 21st 2016
Five thousand women and children are in immense danger in the city of Daraya, they are part of the 8,300 civilians left in the city according to the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC). In January 26th 2016 the Syrian government armed forces managed to complete the siege on the city extending by this the systematic deprivation of food, medicine and resources, forced on the city since 2012. Evidence based on direct testimonies, Darya local council, and VDC’s documentation members on the ground, show that the Syrian government uses the siege as a mean to penalize civilians in the areas outside its control.

Daraya is 30 square Kilometre and in 2007 used to be the home for more than 250 thousand people, now 90% of all the buildings and infrastructure in the city has been completely ruined with little over 8000 civilians left in the city. After much pressure from the international community, in June this year, the UN finally managed to enter Daraya for the first time since 2012. With only 14 trucks, half full, containing 480 food parcels, fewer medicine and medical kits, and other materials. To people’s dismay, the Syrian jet-fighters, within less than ten hours, attacked the city with 23 barrel-bombs targeting the wheat fields (Video). This indicate the clear Syrian government direction to enforce the siege any not allowing any relief to enter the city. And regardless of the ceasefire in Syria that took effect on February 27 – as part of a negotiated deal, based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 in December 2015- between May 12th and May 25th, VDC with Darya local council was able to document 60 missiles, 508 mortar shell launched from the government armed forces on Daraya.

VDC condemns penalizing civilians by the Syrian government and “The use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare” which, in addition to the killing, now puts the lives of more than eight thousand at immense danger and inhuman condition. This is a clear human rights violation and the siege with its systematic deprivation amounts to war crimes.

VDC appeals to all humanitarian and relief organizations, world governments, and the United Nations to pressure the Syrian government in order to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 and 2254 to ease the aid delivery to Syrians, insure the respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights, and provide safe passages for civilians in the city.

For further information, please contact VDC. A Hamzah
At email:, Tel: +44 7985794393

Ledesma employees Injured in Confrontation with Police

By Cintia Garcia

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Clashes ensued on Thursday when Ledesma company employees were injured by tear gas and rubber bullets fired by the Jujuy police and military forces. Wmployees protested outside the Ledesma company compound—the largest sugar mill in Argentina located in the northern providence of Jujuy.

Employees and the local police clash during protest. (Photo Courtesy by Telesur)

Ledesma employees are currently on strike and as union members they voted to protest against the company’s refusal to improve work conditions and to increase their salaries by 43%. They sought the salary increase in order to counter act depreciation caused by inflation. Approximately 250 workers were demonstrating in front of the Ledesma company compound when they were met by the company’s private security. An estimated 200 police officers and border guards were called to the area. Immediately the police riot squad began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at the employees. The police separated protestors from one another and corralled about 80 employees within company grounds. Employees claim that the police prevented city ambulance from entering the area and treating the injured.

Following the clash images and video of the violence went viral on social media. Union leaders and lawmakers denounced the actions by the local police. Victoria Donda, the chair of the Human Rights Commission of the Lower House of Congress stated in a press release, “The institutional violence is incredible and unacceptable. These who are practicing their constitutional right to protest, shouldn’t have been repressed under any circumstance.” The Center for Legal and Social studies called upon the governor of the region, Gerardo Morales to prevent another situation similar to the repression endured by the employees from occurring. The Ledesma company released a statement in which they attempted to downplay the situation and claimed that the employees illegally trespassed onto their property.

Since the clash, unions and political activists in the region have joined the Ledesma company employees in solidarity and halted traffic on the National highway route 34. The union has announced more protests are to follow. Jujuy has been plagued by similar clashes between governmental forces and its citizens.

For more information, please see:

Politica Argentina—Brutal Repression en Jujuy Contra Una Protesta en Ingenio Ledesma—14 July 2015

Telesur—Policía Argentina Reprime a Trabajadores Azucareros en Jujuy—14 July 2015

Buenos Aires Herald—Force Used Against Workers’ Protest in Jujuy—15 July 2015

Los Andes—Represión Policial: 80 Trabajadores de Ledesma Heridos Durante una Protesta en Jujuy—15 July 2016

Massive Brawl at Hungarian Refugee Camp Near Serbian Border

By Sarah Lafen
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Eight people have been hospitalized as the result of a massive brawl at a migrant processing center in the southern Hungarian town Kiskunhalas.  The refugee camp at Kiskunhalas is one of three closed camps in Hungary where asylum seekers are processed.  Over 200 asylum seekers participated in the fight, and approximately 200 police officers were sent to the camp to subdue the uprising.

Police patrol a migrant reception center in Hungary near the Serbian border (Photo Courtesy of ABC News)

Though the exact cause of the fight is not clear, Gyorgy Bakondi, chief advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, believes the fight was triggered when a group of 20 asylum seekers from Algeria, Syria, Pakistan, and Mongolia threw furniture at each other.  Bakondi also stated that other incidents have occurred at the camp within the past week.

Through a report released in mid-July, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced Hungary for “cruel and violent treatment” of migrants in April and May.  The report accused police officers and soldiers manning the camp of beating refugees, then forcing them to return to Serbia.  Other human rights organizations have recently admonished Hungary for breaking its legal obligations to accept war refugees by making it nearly impossible for those seeking asylum to attain refugee status in the country.  The Hungarian government rejected these accusations, stating that the HRW misconstrued the rules of asylum proceedings.

As of July 5, any illegal migrant detained by Hungarian authorities within 8 kilometers of the Hungarian Serbian border can be returned the Serbia without any legal processing in Hungary.  Hundreds of migrants each day enter Hungary through Serbia, who enter Serbia through Macedonia and Bulgaria.  A majority of these migrants are expelled from Hungary and are sent back to Serbia.  Fearing a backup of migrants as a result of this new system, Serbia has deployed army and police teams to better patrol its borders.  Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic emphasizes that Serbia cannot be a “parking ground” for migrants whom no other European country is willing to accept.

For more information, please see:

Global Post — Migrants Injured in Mass Brawl at Hungary Refugee Camp — 18 July 2016

The Irish Times — Migrants Brawl in Hungarian Camp as Border Tensions Grown — 18 July 2016

Reuters — Migrants Fight in Hungarian Camp Near Serbian Border, Nine Injured — 18 July 2016


The Basics · The Government · ISIS · The Opposition · Global Players

July 16, 2016

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. We’ve rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis. But first, here is a brief overview of what happened this week:

A nationwide cease-fire was in effect at the start of this week, and later extended until early Friday morning in Syria, but the truce did very little to halt the ongoing fighting on the ground.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, effectively came under siege at the end of last week as forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad cut off the last supply route into opposition-held areas of Aleppo city. On Monday, several armed opposition factions launched an offensive on the western, government-held areas of the city, in an attempt to break the siege and reopen the coveted Castello Road.

Recent fighting in Aleppo throughout the week left dozens of civilians dead, but the battle for the city is ongoing. The highway has been rendered “impassable,” leaving some 300,000 people stranded in the city without access to much-needed humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

Idlib and Deir Ezzor provinces also came under attack this week. On Monday, an airstrike hit a fuel market in Idlib, killing at least 14 people, including a journalist who worked with Al-Jazeera.

In Deir Ezzor, Syrian government forces launched an operation on ISIS-controlled areas of the province. On Friday, the army carried out at least 50 airstrikes and were able to retake the majority of al-Sina’a district.

The renewed government offensive in Deir Ezzor came just after ISIS claimed responsibility for shooting down a Syrian army aircraft. ISIS released a propaganda video purporting to show militants shooting down a Syrian warplane and killing the pilot.

That was the second aircraft ISIS claimed responsibility for shooting down in the past seven days. Earlier this week, two Russian pilots were killed when ISIS reportedly shot down their helicopter over the city of Palmyra.

Weekly Highlights:

The Plight of Syria’s Star-Crossed Lovers

Syrian women living in the government-controlled province of Latakia must decide between love and danger if they are to marry the men of their choosing. If those men live in opposition-held areas of Syria, women often face harassment and extortion in order to be with the men they love.

Syrian refugee groom Ahmad Khalid, 21, and his bride Fatheya Mohammed, 21, sit in front of his family’s tent during their wedding ceremony at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. AP/Muhammed Muheisen

Analysis: ISIS’s Ramadan Campaign of Terror

Middle East expert Mohamad Bazzi explains how the so-called Islamic State’s territorial losses in Syria and Iraq pushed it to focus on large-scale attacks around the world during the holy month of Ramadan.

A man sits amid a makeshift memorial inside a burned mall at the scene of a massive truck bombing last Sunday that killed at least 186 people and was claimed by the Islamic State group, in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 10, 2016. Hadi Mizban/Associated Press

Abandoning Syria to Two Tyrannies

The siege of Aleppo will have horrific ramifications for Syria, the region and global security. If the current U.S. policy in Syria does not change, the war-torn country risks falling into the hands of both Assad’s regime and the Islamic State group.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speak to each other while posing for a photo during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2016. The United States is offering Russia a broad new military partnership in Syria. AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Additional Reading:

For new reporting and analysis every weekday, visit
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Top image: Syria Civil Defense volunteer search and rescue workers respond to an air attack on a fuel market in Idlib. Syria Civil Defense

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