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International Humanitarian Law and Islamic law in the Syrian conflict

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) experts, provided by Geneva Call, recently conducted two training sessions for members of the Islamic Front, a coalition of several Islamic armed groups operating in Syria. These four-part training sessions were organized by the Qatar Red Crescent.

During the sessions, significant discussion took place with trainees about the differences and commonalities between IHL and Islamic law and how to practically apply these rules on the ground.

Since late 2012, Geneva Call has conducted 10 similar training sessions on international humanitarian norms and the protection of civilians for some 100 commanders and fighters from various Syrian armed non-State actors. The trainers adapted Geneva Call’s standard training modules to the situation and used the booklet “Fighter not Killer”.

“Participants at the training sessions have become shocked and restless on discovering that they have violated IHL and Islamic rules during the fighting and have shown a strong wish to correct their mistakes and adapt their methods of combat,” said one of Geneva Call trainers after a session in 2013.

Geneva Call has also provided training of trainers to two Syrian NGOs, which will disseminate IHL standards inside Syria. Specific training was also given to international NGOs working in Syria, addressing specific challenges related to humanitarian operations in territories controlled by armed non-State actors.



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