A Decade after Daraya: Documenting a Massacre
In August 2012, the Syrian Government and allied forces carried out a brutal military campaign against Daraya, a town southwest of the Syrian capital of Damascus. The attack involved five days of indiscriminate shelling and culminated in 72 hours of door-to-door summary executions. Altogether, Government and allied forces murdered over 700 people in Daraya. 514 have been documented by name, including at least 36 women and 63 children, while the remaining corpses were unidentified. An additional 153 residents were recorded by activists as detained (including at least three boys), and 86 as missing (including at least five children). It is estimated that these numbers are much higher.
SBC conducted a two-year investigation into this attack, inclusive of 23 witness interviews, two expert interviews, documentary evidence and open-source investigation. On the 10th anniversary of this attack, SBC published a report detailing its findings regarding the crimes committed, entities responsible, and means through which the attack against Daraya was coordinated and executed.
The report sets out a factual analysis of one of the bloodiest massacres of the early years of the Syrian conflict. While at the time it was a startling display of violence by the Assad regime, the massacre remains relatively under-documented, with many of the survivors and witnesses being interviewed for the first time by SBC during its investigation.
A copy of this report – and the underlying interviews and materials – were submitted to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on Syria (IIIM) in November 2022, after which the report’s determinations can be used by national and international authorities to pursue judicially-determined findings of fact and law.
This report records the atrocities perpetrated in Daraya based on the testimony of witnesses and victims, thereby memorializing their accounts and maintaining a record for posterity. It also showcases that despite the passage of ten years and the collection of substantial evidence, accountability and justice continue to elude the people of Daraya. Despite their disappointment in the international system, witnesses provided their testimony, recounting the heinous crimes committed in Daraya by their own Government, based on their belief that their story—their truth—is not only worthy of documentation, but may one day assist in bringing justice and accountability.
Continuous support for SBC’s investigative team was provided by the Center for Justice and Accountability. Documentary support, including access to available video evidence, was provided by the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre. SBC is grateful to both organizations for their time and assistance.
Read the full report (English)
اقرأ التقرير الكامل (العربية)