Syrian Forces Accused of Sexually Assaulting Detainees
Human Rights Watch says Syrian government forces are using sexual violence to torture men, women, and boys detained during the country's 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Human Rights Watch says Syrian government forces are using sexual violence to torture men, women, and boys detained during the country's 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. The New York-based rights group Friday released a statement saying soldiers and pro-government armed militias are also sexually abusing women as well as girls as young as 12 years old. The group based its report on interviews with former detainees who described being sexually abused or witnessing abuses, including rape, beatings and electric shocks. The group says it documented more than 20 incidents of sexual assault between March 2011 and March 2012, with most of the cases occurring in the opposition stronghold of Homs. But it said the full extent of sexual violence in and outside of Syrian detention facilities is not known. While Human Rights Watch said it does not have evidence that senior military commanders ordered soldiers to commit the sexual violence, it said no action has been taken to investigate such abuses. Syria's government has not responded to the allegations. The report comes as activists report a continued surge in violence, which threatens to escalate the country's conflict into an all-out civil war. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that government forces were shelling rebel-held areas and clashing with opposition forces in Homs, Aleppo, Douma and Damascus.