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Syrian regime using women as 'bargaining chips' in war

The war has forced millions of women to leave the Syria [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 23 June, 2015

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A regional Human rights group accuses the Syrian regime of using women as bargaining chips in war, and subjecting detainees to torture, humiliation and rape.

Women are being used as a "weapon war" by the Syrian regime, according to a horrific report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.

The report documented accounts of dozens of women about the sexual abuse, rape, sexual humiliation, and torture they were subjected to or witnessed in regime jails.

"Women have been increasingly weaponised in Syria's ongoing bloody war, with dire repercussions for the country's social fabric and the prospect of ending the conflict," the report wrote.

Women in government-run jails are subjected to "various forms of deprivation, threats, solitary confinement, as well as different forms of torture, including rape and sexual harassment".

The 42-page report documented women being used by the regime as "bargaining chips" in hostage exchanges with rebel groups.

Detention has also been used as a deliberate form of collective punishment against anti-government protesters from the start of the war, the report said. 

It also mentions women prisoners being forced into making false confessions on pro-regime TV about being "jihadi sex brides" for foreign fighters.

One woman said she was hung from her hands for six days, and repeatedly electrocuted.

Another women was raped by ten security officers in front of her 16-year-old son.

Although the report also criticised violations committed by rebel militants and the Islamic State group, it found that the regime has used women as part of a "deliberate military strategy targeting entire communities".

The deep trauma detention has on women, and irreversible consequences on their status in society, and "seriously contributes to sustaining the conflict".

Various human rights groups, the UN and NGOs have blamed both sides for violations against women in the war.

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