Rare demonstration takes place in Damascus as conflict rages on

Peaceful assembly

Elections held in government controlled areas on 13 April were roundly condemned by observers as a sham and unsurprisingly the Assad regime  returned to power. Protests were reported in Damascus on Sunday June 19, marking a rare demonstration against fuel price rises. Although riot police were stationed at the protest, there were no reports of violence. Globally, and in response to heavy shelling by government forces in the rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo, demonstrations took place across the world on 3 May.

Expression

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria at least 90 journalists and writers have been killed, while many others have been arbitrarily detained, tortured or have disappeared. On 5 June press photographer Osama Jumma was injured while reporting on a Syrian government bombardment. He died shortly afterwards when the ambulance he was in was hit by a shell that killed both him and the driver. Attacks on freedom of expression are not just limited to within Syria’s borders. On 12 June 2016 Daesh (or ISIS) attempted to kill Syrian journalist Ahmed Abdel-Qader in Turkey. This is the second attempt on his life. In late April community radio station ARTA FM was attacked by masked gunmen in Amuda, a town in the mainly Kurdish northeastern region of Syria known as Rojava. It has also been reported that ISIS had closed all internet cafes in Tabqah city until licences were applied for from ISIS authorities. Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front are also targetting the local media. In June, they indefinitely suspended the independent Radio Fresh in Kafranbel in Idleb province because woman had been hired to work for the station.