Syria, 512 civilians, including women and children, kidnapped in 2020

Damaged buildings in Aleppo Damaged buildings in Aleppo Photo by Aladdin Hammami on Unsplash

27 December 2020 

Many incidents of kidnappings have been registered, mainly in areas controlled by the regime

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an independent human rights organization based in the United Kingdom, has raised serious concerns regarding the security situation of Syrian civilians. In 2020, the SOHR has documented 512 kidnappings of civilians throughout the country. Among those kidnapped were 53 women and 61 children. Most of them are still detained today, although some have been released following the payment of ransoms. Of those not released, 43 have been killed, including several children.

The SOHR registered the largest number of kidnappings in regime-controlled areas, where 198 incidents were recorded. The kidnappings mainly took place in the areas of Daraa, Damascus, and Aleppo. As confirmed by a reliable source, in the capital, incidents of kidnappings of children are an increasing concern for civilians. It was also underlined that many of the kidnapped children are very young, in many cases under the age of ten.

The second largest number of kidnappings was registered in areas under the control of Turkish forces and their proxies. In these areas, mainly in the area of Afrin,182 civilians have been kidnapped. Specifically, the SOHR has registered several incidents in which Turkish-backed forces were responsible for kidnapping civilians, such as in June when members of these factions kidnapped an Arab tribal chief. 

The third highest concentration of kidnappings was in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, where 92 civilians have been kidnapped, mainly in Deir Ezzor and Al-Hasakah. Among the most prominent incidents was the case registered by the SOHR in July of the death of a child who had previously gone missing in the city of Al-Raqqah. Finally, the smallest number of kidnappings was registered in rebel-controlled areas, with 39 incidents recorded by the SOHR. 

Based on the evidence presented by the SOHR, we must conclude that the  security situation in Syria remains extremely volatile. This volatility continues to put civilians’ lives at risk and worsen the tragic situation that Syrians are forced to endure. The international community needs to act urgently and effectively to put an end to the suffering caused to millions of Syrians.


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Author: Alessia Rossinotti; Editor: Alexander Collin

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