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Rape is Major Tactic Being Used in Syrian Civil War

Thu, January 17, 2013

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) recently released report detailing the use of rape as a war tactic in the on-going battle for Syria.

The report says that rape of women and girls has reached “horrific levels,” even though because of the social stigma, the report assumes that many more rapes have occurred than have been reported. IRC based its finding on interviews with Syrian refugees, who described sexual violence as a prominent part of the war.

The report also says they were told of a significant number of cases where women and girls were kidnapped, tortured and killed.

“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 report said.

Significantly, the report did not mention if these tactics are being employed by rebel or regime forces, indicating (as per other sources) that this horrific practice is being carried out by both sides.

The report also speaks of the tremendous humanitarian and refugee crisis in Syria, saying, "Nearly two years into Syria’s civil war, the region faces a staggering humanitarian disaster, requiring the international community to urgently scale up planning and funding for what is certain to be a long-term regional crisis. Current assistance levels are drastically insufficient to address existing needs, let alone the barest requirements to respond to a lengthy humanitarian emergency and post-conflict recovery.”

In terms of refugees, the report states that, "As of today, more than 600,000 Syrians have fled to over-burdened neighboring countries and the UN anticipates that number could soon exceed 1 million if the exodus continues at its current pace of about 3,000 refugees a day. Inside Syria, more than 2 million civilians are displaced and the UN estimates that 4 million are in dire need of assistance."

One such child refugee's story is detailed in the video above.