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Last update: February 2023

COI summary

[Main COI reference: Targeting 2022, 6.2.3, p. 71]

Civilians perceived to be collaborating or supporting the government or (pro-)government armed forces and/or to oppose anti-government armed groups are targeted by several groups, mainly HTS and ISIL.

In territory controlled by HTS, a number of individuals were targeted based on allegations of collaboration with the GoS. Several executions and detentions on these grounds were reported in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Unclaimed assassinations, reported in autumn 2020 in Rural Damascus, targeted prominent civilian figures who had mediated reconciliation deals between the GoS and opposition fighters.

There were also reports indicating that HTS confiscated properties of minority groups such as Christians, individuals who fled the area or were perceived as political opponents, including alleged GoS supporters.

ISIL targeted and detained ‘perceived enemies, including alleged supporters or members of armed opposition groups or the Government and its forces’. In the reference period several killings were attributed to ISIL, or were claimed by ISIL, in Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor, Dar’a, Homs and south of Damascus.

There were several reports of members of the SDF arresting individuals with links to the GoS or on accusations of spying for or /collaborating with the GoS or Iranian militias, including civilians and members of the SDF or the Kurdish-led AANES.

Conclusions and guidance 

Do the acts qualify as persecution under Article 9 QD?

Acts reported to be committed against individuals under this profile are of such severe nature that they amount to persecution (e.g. detention, torture, killing).

What is the level of risk of persecution (well-founded fear)?

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, such as: regional specifics (depending on the presence and activity of anti-government armed groups) and level of perceived support or collaboration, etc.

Are the reasons for persecution falling within Article 10 QD (nexus)?

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of (imputed) political opinion.

See other topics concerning persons associated with the Government of Syria: