Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? Is it an Armed Conflict? - The Classification of the Situation in Syria
1 Journal of International Law, 2012 Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 31 May 2012
Date Written: April, 24 2012
The article focuses on the classification of the violence in Syria under international humanitarian law. Since the start of the unrest in 2011, the Syrian government has been violently cracking down on peaceful protests and on the armed opposition. Claiming the lives of thousands, president Bashar al-Assad’s actions have met with widespread international condemnation, albeit such condemnation did not materialize in international enforcement action to date.
Against this background, this article examines, on the basis of publicly available information collected until the end of February 2012, whether the situation is one of internal disturbances covered by domestic law (including human rights law) or rather one that has reached the threshold of armed conflict, triggering the applicability of international humanitarian law of non-international armed conflicts. In this regard, the article argues that the fighting between regime forces and some local units of the Free Syrian Army has escalated into a non-international armed conflict.
Keywords: Syria, armed conflict, international humanitarian law, IHL, non-international armed conflict, common Article 3
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Eric Engle