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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Assad's systematic use of Rape in Syria

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The systematic use of rape as a weapon of war against his own people has come into somewhat sharper focus in the past few days owning to the publication of a report released Monday by the New York based International Rescue Committee that charged that rape has become a “significant and disturbing feature” of the war in Syria.


It has become common for women and girls to be attacked in public, at roadblocks and in their homes by "armed men." Gang rape is common.

In interviews with refugees, this was cited as one of the main reasons for fleeing Syria.

Below the fold are excerpts from some of the recent MSM articles to come out on this and links to others. Also a very informative report done by Women Under Siege and finally, what looks like a piece of counter-propaganda from the Assad regime. Topicality is always suspect!


AFP is reporting:
Rape 'significant' factor in Syria conflict: watchdog


Rape has been a "significant" weapon of war in the conflict raging in Syria since March 2011 and is the "primary" factor in the exodus of women and children refugees to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, an aid group said on Monday.

In its report, "Syria: A Regional Crisis," the US-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) described rape "as a significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian civil war".

"In the course of three IRC assessments in Lebanon and Jordan, Syrians identified rape as a primary reason their families fled the country," the report said, calling for urgent attention to the issue.

"Many women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men. These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members."

The IRC said it was also told of attacks in which women and girls were kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed.

Syrian survivors rarely report sexual violence due to "the stigma and social norms around the dishonour that rape brings to women and girls and their families," the IRC said.

Many interviewed by the IRC said survivors fear retribution by their assailants, being killed by "shamed" family members, or in the case of girls, being married off at an early age "to safeguard their honour," the report said.

The IRC said survivors who flee face a shortage of medical and counselling services, in addition to "unsafe conditions in refugee camps as well as elevated levels of domestic violence." More...





The Telegraph is reporting:
Rape 'being used as widespread weapon of war in Syrian conflict'

Rape is being used as a weapon of war in the Syrian conflict to such an extent that many refugee families are citing it a as a primary reason to flee, according to a new report.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
2:17PM GMT 14 Jan 2013
The study of the nearly 600,000 people who have fled the country since the start of the civil war stated it was a "staggering humanitarian disaster".

On top of those in neighbouring countries, mainly Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, 2.5 million had fled their homes but remained in Syria, while 4 million people were in need of help.

"The extent of the bloodshed, devastation, displacement and suffering inside Syria cannot be easily or precisely measured, but it is certainly extraordinary in its magnitude, and it is steadily worsening," the report for the US-based International Rescue Committee said. "Millions of Syrians are in desperate need and have little if any access to humanitarian relief."

Their overall comments reflect widespread feelings that despite promises from across the world not enough assistance is reaching the often bleak and frozen refugee camps on the country's borders.

However, while there had been allegations of rape and sexual abuse before, the scale suggested by the refugees was shocking.

The study of the nearly 600,000 people who have fled the country since the start of the civil war stated it was a "staggering humanitarian disaster".

On top of those in neighbouring countries, mainly Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, 2.5 million had fled their homes but remained in Syria, while 4 million people were in need of help.

"The extent of the bloodshed, devastation, displacement and suffering inside Syria cannot be easily or precisely measured, but it is certainly extraordinary in its magnitude, and it is steadily worsening," the report for the US-based International Rescue Committee said. "Millions of Syrians are in desperate need and have little if any access to humanitarian relief."

Their overall comments reflect widespread feelings that despite promises from across the world not enough assistance is reaching the often bleak and frozen refugee camps on the country's borders.

However, while there had been allegations of rape and sexual abuse before, the scale suggested by the refugees was shocking. More...


Naturally the Washington Post and The Guardian have useful articles.











The Women's Media Center published this in Women Under Siege six months agao:
The ultimate assault: Charting Syria’s use of rape to terrorize its people

By Lauren Wolfe/Director — July 11, 2012
A woman swathed in black squares her shoulders and calmly looks into a camera. She holds a Quran. Only a sliver of her face—her eyeglasses—shows. “What happened to me hasn’t happened to anyone, or if it has affected anyone else I do not know,” she says. “But I will speak and let all the people know what [Syrian leader] Bashar al-Assad and his men are doing.” Over the next four minutes, her breathing grows labored and her voice breaks as she describes how, in May 2011, five men wearing black entered her home on the outskirts of Homs and raped her.

“This is my message to the world,” she says. “Let all the world hear what is happening to us. And I might not be the first one nor the last who was treated in this way.”

The still-unidentified woman posted the video to YouTube on February 11, 2012. It is one of the earliest reports on our live, crowd-sourced map of sexualized violence in Syria. The Women’s Media Center project Women Under Siege has been collecting reports out of Syria for three months, during which time we’ve seen many stories similar to this, in which multiple attackers, usually government forces, are said to gang rape a woman in her home. We have also mapped stories at the extreme edge of nightmares; of teenage girls given shots that immobilize them while their genitals were burned or filled with mice. Government forces and others appear to be carrying out appalling sexualized attacks against women, men, and children in Syria as the conflict there continues. Although we are unable to independently confirm these stories—Syria is simply too dangerous, and our research staff too small—they are consistent both internally and within the news and NGO reports telling similar stories from the Syrian conflict. More...

Real Syria Updates reports:
Syria: Syrian Rebels Rape 2 Women, 4 Children in Reef Idlib

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Armed rebels committed the crimes in the Qaninas region of Reef Idlib in the Northwestern Syria.

The terrorists sprayed bullets at the defenseless women and children after raping them.

Terrorists have tried hard in the last few weeks to make Syrian cities unsafe, specially for citizens, but the army has purged them from most neighborhoods and districts, killed hundreds of them and arrested many more.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad. More...


Based on reports like this last one, reports that "terrorists sprayed bullets at the defenseless women and children after raping them." with no further details, I fully expect to see claims made by Assad supporters that "the rebels rape too."

That's the way the propaganda war is played these days.



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