The Syrian government is unlawfully preventing displaced residents from former anti-government-held areas from returning to their properties.
Residents of one town said the government is also demolishing their properties with no warning. Human Rights Watch analyzed satellite imagery over Qaboun neighborhoods showing large-scale demolitions starting in late May 2017, after fighting there ended.
The imagery confirms the demolitions are still taking place.
Syria and Russia are publicly calling on displaced people to begin returning home to these destroyed areas. But the reality on the ground means they’ll have little to come home to.
As one refugee put it: “They took our children, our blood and now our property – what is left for us to return to?”
Reports of children from Xinjiang being placed in orphanages against their families’ wishes are particularly alarming given the government’s sustained assault on the cultural identity of Turkic Muslim minority communities there.