Despite de-escalation agreement, civic space under severe threat in Syria
50% of the #MediaActivists victims were killed by #SyrianRegime forces and Iranian militias in the first half of 2017 pic.twitter.com/Mxh7JzyKga— Syrian Network (@snhr) July 5, 2017
In the context of the ongoing conflict in Syria, and despite the de-escalation agreement reached in May 2017, freedom of expression and the media continue to be under severe threat. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), in the first half of 2017, 26 media activists were killed, 34 injured and 20 arrested. In June alone, SNHR reported one media activist killed and five injured.
In addition, the Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms (SCJF) documented eight violations against journalists in Syria during June 2017, a significant decrease compared to previous months, which is most likely a result of the decline in hostilities and the cessation of shelling in most areas inside Syria. According to SCJF's monthly report, Da'esh was the top perpetrator of attacks against journalists in June, committing four violations, with the Syrian regime was responsible for two, and those responsible for the other two violations documented were not identified.
Also in SCFJ's report, media activist Mehran Kargosli was killed during bombing and shelling operations by the Syrian government's forces in the town of Haza, a Damascus suburb. Journalist Maher Ziad Abu Hamza also died under mysterious circumstances near the city of Suweida, when he was shot dead in his car by an unknown assailant.
.@pressfreedom asks that the #PYD/#PKK release Barzan Hussein Liani, a TV journalist they kidnapped on 13 May. https://t.co/6zHvInpCod pic.twitter.com/BTZB7blvA8— Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) June 30, 2017
In a separate incident, on 29th June 2017 the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called upon the Kurdish authorities to release journalist Barzan Hussein Liani, who as reported by the Monitor, was detained by Asayish security forces in May 2017. According to CPJ, no formal charges have been made nor has the reason for his detention been made public, and he has only been allowed one brief visit from his wife.
#Rojava authorities have detained Barzan Hussein Liani since May 13 @pressfreedom demands his release https://t.co/2emkAHXVsI— CPJ MENA (@cpjmena) July 4, 2017
Syria Deeply and Global Voices reported that in June 2017, activists took to the streets in Maarat Al-Numanal-Numan, Idlib province to protest against an Al-Qaeda affiliated coalition of armed groups known as Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). The protest was ignited by an incident where clashes erupted between HTS and the Free Syrian Army, during which several civilians were killed and injured. According to information received by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the protest in June was disrupted by HTS militants, who fired into the air to disperse the crowd. There were no documented cases of any injuries.
Men & women in Ma'arat al-Nu'man protest against raid/detentions/killing by Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (formerly AQ). #FreeSyria pic.twitter.com/MAJwvQu6aZ— Kenan Rahmani كنان (@KenanRahmani) June 11, 2017
Civil society organisations have called for the release of thousands of citizens in detention, many of whom are human rights defenders, as part of the Ceasefire Agreement in three southern provinces. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, there are 21,000 people being held in these three provinces and over 100,000 in total throughout the country.
A recent report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) estimates that the number of detainees is likely to... https://t.co/pd5AcqAtAI— Noor Alkhateb (@alkateb_noor) June 16, 2017
Civic Space Developments