The Advocates for Human Rights and Syrians for Truth and Justice welcome the oral update and the updated written report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria. While we thank the Commission for the thorough findings of human rights abuses published in its last report, we would like to address several issues the Commission should investigate during the next cycle.
Like other Syrian and international NGOs, we are concerned about water security in Syria, notably in the north-east. OCHA has documented that Alouk water station, which provides access to clean drinking water for nearly one million people, has been disrupted 24 times since 2019. These disruptions threaten the health of thousands in north-east Syria. We call on the Commission to investigate these disruptions, and more broadly the issue of water security in Syria.
Additionally, we encourage the Commission to investigate the recruitment of Syrian mercenaries for use in foreign conflicts, particularly Syrian children as mercenaries in Libya. While we recognize that the Commission’s mandate lies within Syria, the recruitment of mercenaries, including of child soldiers into combat, is occurring within Syrian territories. The Commission must recognize these violations occurring within Syria and by extension, stop further violations from occurring beyond its borders.
Further, we reiterate the need for the Commission to clearly acknowledge the Turkish occupation of northern Syrian territories as occupation to encourage Turkey to protect the civilian population against human rights violations committed by the opposition-Syrian National Army, which it supports. While the Commission has recognized arbitrary arrests by SNA factions, we encourage the Commission to also investigate the thousands of housing and land thefts perpetrated by the same groups.