Human Rights Watch

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Syria: Address Fate of Missing Victims of ISIS

Prioritize Sharing Information, Protect Mass Graves

Tuesday 11 February 2020


(Beirut, February 11, 2020) – The authorities in Syria should address as a priority what happened to people who disappeared in the custody of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) while the group controlled parts of Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Authorities in de facto control of areas formerly under ISIS control should make information-sharing with families a priority and help create a formal system to address the issue of the missing and allow families to register their cases. 

The 57-page report, “‘Kidnapped by ISIS’: Failure to Uncover the Fate of Syria’s Missing,” highlights 27 cases of individuals or groups apprehended by ISIS and last heard of in its custody before the group’s military defeat. They include activists, aid workers, journalists, and anti-ISIS fighters from a range of groups, government and anti-government, as well as residents living under ISIS control. While the number of missing is uncertain, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented 8,143 cases of people detained by ISIS whose fate remains unknown.

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