A ‘new report by the London School of Economics’ (LSE), so announced the British press – The Times, The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror – describes sexual crimes against women in Syrian prisons. It alleges these to be a matter of state policy. Published just ahead of Geneva talks about a political settlement in Syria, the press interpreted it as supportingrenewed calls for regime change.
The paper provides no new grounds for that conclusion, however. In fact, its sweeping allegations obscure good reasons why, under present circumstances,a responsible approach to the problem of sexual violence in Syria would involve supporting the government against the terrorist insurgents.
Some reasons can be gleaned from United Nations research into the problem. The UN found (in 2015 and again in 2016) that while some conflict-related sexual violence was perpetrated by state personnel, ‘non-State actors account…
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