Rape Has Become a 'Significant and Disturbing Feature' of Syria's Civil War


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) released a report yesterday on Syrian refugees that shines some light on the horrific reality Syrian women and girls are currently facing.

In three IRC assessments in Lebanon and Jordan “sexual violence was consistently identified by Syrian women, men and community leaders as a primary reason their families fled the country.”

“We surrendered to the reality of rape,” said a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, remarking on the severity of rape in this crisis.

The report doesn’t state whether the men are from government forces or rebel ranks, but notes that women and children are being attacked at roadblocks or at home. Of course, prominent piece of shit Saudi cleric Muhammed al-Arifi is encouraging the gang rape of women and girls to help rebel fighters who might be “getting weary for the lack of sexual pleasure.” Shudder. [Update: Alternet issued an update about how the Muhammed al-Arifi story was apparently completely fabricated.]

According to IRC’s report:

The situation for refugee women and girls is grim. Syrian refugees surveyed by the IRC cited rape as a primary reason their families fled the conflict, yet there is an alarming lack of medical and counseling services to help them recover in the countries to which they have fled. They face unsafe conditions in camps and elevated levels of domestic violence, while reports of early and/or forced marriage of women and girls are increasing.

The Washington Post reports the number of Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries is at over 600,000. And that the living conditions are not good — with many cramped into crowded camps or tiny apartments, or squatting in schools, public buildings, or sheds. It’s an unsafe situation that the IRC reports can lead to sexual assaults, domestic violence, and early or forced marriages.

As intense fighting continues in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria’s civil war — which has killed more than 60,000 so far — appears it will continue to inflict a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis on the Middle East, especially its women and children.


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