A recent report published by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) claims that no less than 912 Syrian civilians were killed in September 2017, due in large part to attacks by the regime and its Russian allies. This number raises the total number of Syrian civilians who have so far died this year to 8,115.
In a separate report, SNHR also revealed that at least thirty-four individuals died of torture in the last month, and that thirty-three of these deaths occurred at the hands of regime forces. SNHR’s chairman, Fadel Abdul Ghany, is quoted as saying that “[c]rimes against humanity and war crimes are being perpetrated every day in Syria and mainly at the hands of the organs of the state itself,” adding that “[t]he norm of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ must be implemented in light of the government’s failure to protect its people, and the fruitlessness of the diplomatic and peaceful efforts so far.”
In yet another report, SNHR states that there were at least 557 confirmed cases of “arbitrary arrests” in September. According to SNHR, the number of detainees in Syria is anywhere between 117,000 and 215,00—“99% of [whom] are being detained mainly by Syrian regime forces.” This year alone, there were 4,809 instance of arbitrary arrests, most of which targeted the families of opposition figures in “city centers and residential areas that are under the regime’s control.”
On top of mass arrests, torture, and a high death toll, the month of September also saw the deliberate targeting and destruction of numerous hospitals in Syria. This includes six of Idlib’s primary medical centers and one of the country’s most important surgical centers, the Sham/Hama Central Hospital, which is supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). As a result, overcrowding in hospitals has become more of a problem, and the ability of medical professionals to efficiently treat severely wounded patients has fallen substantially.
As Syrians continue to face incessant bombardment, many are unable to find asylum abroad, and some are even being deported back to the war-torn country they once escaped. In the United States, for example, President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries includes an “indefinite ban on visas” for Syrians; in Jordan, Syrian refugees are being systematically, and arbitrarily, deported back to Syria at an average rate of 400 per month, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Given these realities, it is no surprise that many Syrians are losing hope for the future. Indeed, as Syrians are denied both peace at home and refuge abroad, their options are gradually being boiled down to one: live and die in war.