The UN Human Rights Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report on 14 September, documenting continued grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law across Syria, many of which amount to likely war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Cases of arbitrary arrests, beatings, disappearances, harassment and extortion, including of returnees, continued to be documented. According to the report, the risk of being detained, and subsequently ill-treated and tortured, remained pervasive for many Syrians. The arbitrary use of security clearances to restrict freedoms and housing-related rights, the loss of livelihoods and basic services and vulnerability to extortion and property seizure represented additional violations, as well as impediments for refugees seeking a safe, sustainable and dignified return to government-controlled areas.
During the reporting period – from 1 January to 30 June 2022 – the attacks documented by the UN across northwest Syria that resulted in the killing of dozens of civilians and destruction of civilian objects, including homes, schools, mosques, medical facilities and objects indispensable to the survival of the population, such as a water station serving over 200,000 people.
Earlier in summer Danish authorities have reversed the decision of Denmark to revoke the residency permits of 94 Syrian refugees after declaring Damascus and its governorate no longer dangerous. UNHCR Guidelines on the Cessation of Refugee Status declare in this regard that “changes in the refugee’s country of origin affecting only part of the territory should not lead to cessation of refugee status”. International protection can only come to an end if the grounds for persecution are removed “without the precondition that the refugee has to return to specific safe parts of the country in order to be free from persecution”.