Rape widespread amid violence in Syria, NGO says
Syrian mother and her two childern walk through the mud after the first snow of the year fell the previous night at a refugee camp in Bab al-Salam on the Syria-Turkey border, on January 9, 2013. AFP PhotoRape has become a prominent and “disturbing” feature of Syria’s civil war, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a U.S.-based NGO, has said, while noting the insufficiency of humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees.
“These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members,” the IRC said in a recent report.
The report, which was prepared following studies among refugees that have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, concluded that sexual assault was one of the main reasons Syrians have sought shelter in neighboring countries.
The current level of humanitarian assistance for Syria is "drastically insufficient to address existing needs," the IRC said.
Doctors have also reportedly become the victims of targeted killings, the IRC said, while noting the widespread existence of torture and intimidation.
Being the victim of rape is seen as a "dishonor" under local social mores and could provoke honor killings by "shamed" family members, the report said, adding that this had led to the concealment of some rape cases.
The IRC is a nongovernmental international relief and development organization based in the United States, with operations in over 40 countries.
Rape and sexual abuse were also prevalent in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-95 war.