Syria Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
Pro-reform demonstrations in Syria developed into mass protests in the spring of 2011 after security forces used grossly excessive force against people calling for the release of children who had been detained. More than 10,000 people reportedly died during or in connection with the protests and during funerals of demonstrators. Most of those killed were apparently shot by members of the security forces, including snipers. Tanks were used in military operations in civilian residential areas. Some members of the security forces were also killed, some allegedly for refusing to fire on protesters and others in attacks by defecting soldiers and other individuals who joined in opposition to the government.
Thousands of people have been detained in connection with the protests, with many held incommunicado and tortured. At least 370 detainees reportedly died in custody in suspicious circumstances; many appeared to have been tortured. The authorities have failed to conduct independent investigations into alleged unlawful killings, torture and other serious human rights violations, which the security forces committed with impunity. Thousands of Syrians have been forcibly displaced by the repression; many fled to neighboring countries.