The Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic Paulo Pinheiro has asserted that detention in Syria is equivalent to disappearance. Pinheiro stressed, the Middle East Monitor reported, that the futures of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians are unknown, most of whom have been in the regime’s prisons for ten years. He explained that predictions indicate that most detainees have been executed and buried in mass graves, and others subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Pinheiro added that being arrested in Syria today is tantamount to disappearing and urged the need to establish an independent mechanism with international authorities to investigate the issue of disappeared civilians. The UN official stressed that a delay in establishing this mechanism would make it more difficult to uncover the fate of these people.
Unidentified aircraft struck oil-rich areas in eastern Syria held by government and Iran-aligned groups on Saturday, an opposition war monitor said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were no casualties or material losses in the attack, the second within a week in the province of Deir-ez-Zor. At least five explosions were heard, according to the monitor, in the Hawijah Kateh area and a nearby bridge north of the city of Deir-ez-Zor. Syrian state media also reported the attack but gave no details.
The Syria Response Coordinators team said that 19 IDP camps were damaged due to floods in the northern countryside of Idleb, and in the western countryside of Aleppo. The relief group indicated that the field teams are trying to reach the affected camps to count the damage, which might increase if the rainstorms continue. The IDP camps in northern Syria suffer from a lack of humanitarian response operations by the organizations operating in the region. The Response Team stressed that “the humanitarian response has not yet reached the required extent and all of them have a limited impact.” The group called for immediate humanitarian support in all IDP camps and focused on infrastructure works and road repairs for fear of increasing damages.
More than 40,000 Syrian children are out of school as a direct result of British aid cuts and more schools could soon close, a leading charity has said, according to The Guardian. British funding for 133 schools run by Syria Relief ended on the 30th of April, as the government cut its total foreign aid spending from its commitment of 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. “If funds are not found to plug the gaps left by the UK government and other donors, a generation of children in northern Syria will be out of school and this will lead to a close-to-immediate rise in child labour, child marriage, early pregnancies, child conscription to military and armed groups, child exploitation and child trafficking,” said Jessica Adams, head of communications for Syria Relief and its parent charity, Action For Humanity.
Clashes have erupted between the Fifth Corps, a Russia-backed Syrian military force, and militiamen backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at the al-Dar al-Hamra checkpoint near the southern entrance to the city of Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs, central Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported. SOHR quoted local sources in Palmyra as saying that the reasons for the clashes are not yet known, but they resulted in injuries on both sides, amid reports of deaths. According to the sources, the Badia Intelligence Branch has deliberately intervened and ended the fighting between the two sides. The war monitor added that eight families from the Iraqi Hezbollah militia arrived in the city of Palmyra in late April, coming from the city of al-Boukamal, east of Deir-ez-Zor and settled in the al-Filat al-Hamar neighbourhood.