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Syria Today – ICJ Calls Out Syria; Hezbollah Deploys in Golan

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.

On Thursday, the World Court directed Syria to implement measures preventing torture in response to emergency actions initiated by the Netherlands and Canada. Concurrently, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that over 700 “elite fighters” from the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia have been stationed near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Syria. This development unfolds against a backdrop of escalating tensions between Hezbollah and Israel.

World court orders Syria to stop torture and preserve evidence

Judges at the World Court on Thursday ordered Syria to take steps to prevent torture as part of emergency measures in a case against Damascus brought before the top U.N. tribunal by the Netherlands and Canada, Reuters reported.

“Syria must (…) take all measures within its power to prevent acts of torture and other cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment” and ensure its officials or others under its control do not commit torture, presiding judge Joan Donoghue said.

The 15-judge panel also told Damascus to ensure that any possible evidence about allegations of torture, including medical reports and death records, are preserved.

Syria has boycotted the court’s hearings and was not present for the ruling. The case marks the first time an international court has looked at alleged abuses committed in Syria during 12 years of conflict.

The case before the World Court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, was filed in June by the Netherlands and Canada. They say Syria is breaching a U.N. anti-torture convention by abusing tens of thousands people, many of whom are kept in Syria’s extensive detention system.

Syria’s government and President Bashar al-Assad have rejected accusations of torture and extrajudicial killings in a war that the United Nations has said claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The ICJ can issue emergency orders to ensure a situation does not deteriorate in the several years it generally takes the court to rule on the main claim.

Iranian-backed groups in Syria may use roadside bombs 

Rabbanit Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel, a mother who endured the tragic kidnapping and later loss of her own son, Naftali Fraenkel, in a kidnapping by Hamas, commended immigrant mothers who have recently made aliyah for their remarkable courage in sending their children to face an existential war, JPost.com reported.

These also include attacks on facilities where US forces are located in the middle Euphrates River valley, such as the Conoco and Omar fields and other sites near Deir Ezzor.

According to an assessment in pro-Iran Al Mayadeen media, these attacks do not have the level of impact that Iran may have expected. While the report claims that there have been casualties among US forces, the overall assessment is that the groups Iran backs in Syria have to use “handmade” weapons. This shows they are not well-armed.

The report says they have targeted various places in Syria where US forces are present, such as Conco, Tanf, Rukban, Shaddadi, Kharab Al-Jir “airport,” the Rumeilan area, Tal Baydar, and Qasrak in the Hasakah countryside. The report says this “constitutes about two-thirds of the American bases in the country, which amount to 14 bases.”

The US deployed forces to Syria to back the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and defeat ISIS.

The assessment is that “the data indicate that the resistance is continuing to escalate while working to develop it to the stage of targeting of American ground movements through mines and explosive devices until its goal of pushing the Americans to withdraw completely from the areas they occupy is achieved.”

This is an open threat to US forces and a potential shift in tactics from firing rockets to using IEDs on roadsides.

Hezbollah deploys 700 fighters near Syria’s Golan Heights amid tension with Israel

The Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia has deployed over 700 “elite fighters” near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has reported, amid heightened tensions with Israel.  

The fighters were reportedly trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and were assembled from various countries in the Middle East, such as Syria, Iraq, and the occupied Palestinian territories.

They have been deployed to areas near the frontline with the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights in Al-Quneitra province, western Rif Dimashq province, and parts of western Daraa province. 

The forces were said to have arrived in the area since October in small batches, circumventing any coordination with Syria’s ruling Assad regime, which is allied with Iran and Hezbollah.

The Assad regime has long kept the frontline with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights quiet, preventing any attacks on Israeli forces there. 

Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon ever since the outbreak of war with Gaza last month. 

At least 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side in cross-border skirmishes, while six soldiers and two civilians have been killed on the Israeli side, according to AFP. 

Lebanese Authorities Dismantle Syrian Refugee Camp in Tyre

On Thursday, Lebanese security forces took action to dismantle a camp constructed by Syrian refugees in the city of Tyre, located in southern Lebanon, North Press reported.

The General Directorate of General Security in Lebanon issued a statement indicating that a group of Syrian refugees had erected a substantial camp on a public area using materials such as concrete and iron.

The statement further explained that these refugees had taken advantage of the volatile security situation in the region, a result of ongoing Israeli shelling, which had forced local residents to flee their homes.

Despite numerous warnings issued to the Syrian refugees, urging them to vacate the camp they had established in the Sharniyah area, near the town of Burj al-Shemali in Tyre, they declined to comply with the evacuation order.

As a result, security patrols were dispatched to the site, where they proceeded to dismantle the camp and enforce the evacuation order.

The situation along the Lebanese-Israeli border has been marked by tensions and sporadic confrontations between the Israel Defense Forces and Hezbollah since the commencement of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7.

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