Last update: February 2023
[Main COI reference: Targeting 2022, 6, pp. 67-72]
Attacks and other acts of violence reported during the reference period targeted a variety of individuals affiliated with the GoS. These incidents included (attempted) assassinations of mayors, members of city councils, and of the Dar’a Central Committee. Attacks and assassinations also targeted government employees, including members of intelligence services, police officers, former members of the Baath Party, and persons affiliated with the GoS armed forces or pro-Assad militias. In many of the cases found, the acts were carried out by unidentified armed men in the countryside of Dar’a, (where security deteriorated from June 2019 onwards), and Quneitra governorate. Between January 2020 and the end of 2021, at least nine mayors and one deputy mayor were targeted in assassinations or attempted assassinations. Assassinations of members of pro-GoS forces in Dar’a included the June 2021 killing of a senior Hezbollah leader.
Besides attacks by unidentified armed men, ISIL selectively targeted SAA soldiers and other members of the GoS security forces, government employees, Baath Party officials and tribal notables. Such incidents were mostly reported in Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor (including the Badia region). ISIL reportedly also carried out attacks in Dar’a governorate, where it claimed responsibility for at least 37 attacks between January 2020 and April 2022, which targeted SAA soldiers, members of the intelligence services, Baath Party officials, former opposition fighters, and civilians.
Acts reported to be committed against individuals under this profile are of such severe nature that they amount to persecution (e.g. assassination, kidnapping). Certain risks for members of armed forces are inherent to their military status and the ongoing civil war and those would not amount to persecution. However, actions outside the conduct of war could be of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. assassination and kidnapping).
The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, in particular the regional specifics (depending on the presence and activity of anti-government armed groups).
Nexus to a reason for persecution
According to available information persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of (imputed) political opinion.