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4. Actors of protection

Guidance note
Last updated: September 2020

Article 7 QD stipulates that protection can only be provided by:

The State

The Government of Syria

Assad and Baath Party leaders dominate all branches of government as an authoritarian regime.

Despite the government’s ability to recapture the majority of Syria’s territory, the conflict significantly affected the State’s role, reach and institutional capacity in government-held areas. The government lacks the forces to secure the areas it retakes, but also pursues punitive policies against local populations. At the same time, the GoS reportedly managed to maintain State institutions and economic entities functional to a certain degree, despite the economic pressure.

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice the judiciary is not independent and is subjected to political influence, intimidation and abuse, lacks adherence to legal procedures and suffers from widespread corruption. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in the Constitution but is not respected in practice. Other serious deficiencies in the judicial system were also reported, such as very slow procedures, pre-trial detention exceeding the sentence for the crime, judges with no legal training. In the World Bank’s 2018 indicator for rule of law, Syria scored 0.96 out of 100.

Corruption was also reportedly a widespread problem in the police forces. The police were reported to take part in arbitrary home raids and warrants were rarely issued or presented by the police when operating arrests.

In general, the GoS would not be considered an actor of protection meeting the criteria under Article 7 QD. However, in very exceptional cases, it might be established that the GoS is willing and able to provide protection that is effective and non-temporary.





Parties or organisations controlling the State or a substantial part of the territory of the State

Northern and Eastern Syria Autonomous Administration

In the Kurdish-controlled territories in northeast Syria, Kurdish forces have introduced self-governing sub-regional security and governance institutions. They also introduced and operate their own justice system in the areas under their control. The Kurdish justice system is not recognised internationally or by the Syrian government and reportedly lacks fair trail standards. Moreover, the lack of due process and reported human rights violations by the Kurdish security forces would not qualify such a justice mechanism as a legitimate form of protection.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the Northern and Eastern Syria Autonomous Administration in the Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria do not qualify as an actor of protection who is able to provide effective, non-temporary and accessible protection.




Where no actor of protection meeting the requirements of Article 7 QD can be identified in the home area of the applicant, the assessment may proceed with examination of the availability of internal protection alternative.