Stop the Atrocity Supply Chain

Introduction

The Syrian crisis is a human rights catastrophe.

Today, over 100,000 Syrians have been killed — mostly civilians, including children. And the number is mounting with no end in sight.

Mass atrocities are complex, organized crimes. The Assad regime requires the assistance of “enablers” – governments, commercial entities, and individuals that provide resources, goods, services, or other support that sustain the commission of atrocities.

Together, these enablers form a supply chain that fuels Assad’s crimes against humanity.

Human Rights First has been tracking enablers of Assad’s atrocities. This project maps that supply chain and provides a roadmap for the United States to disrupt them.

Our Report

In our report, Enablers of the Syrian Conflict How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria, Human Rights First found that enablers of Syrian atrocities include the country’s large allies but also smaller countries and commercial entities as well:

Russia, North Korea, and Iran have provided the Assad regime military weapons, fuel, and financial assistance.

Venezuela, Angola, and private entities in Georgia, Lebanon, and Cyprus sent diesel fuel.

Private companies in Italy, the United States, and Greece provided communications and surveillance technology—some of which relied on American-based telecommunications platforms.

The threats to regional security make the Syrian crisis a vital threat to U.S. national security interests. But U.S. efforts to slow or stop the crisis—diplomacy and sanctions, primarily—have had little effect. The United States can more effectively stem atrocities in Syria by systematically isolating, pressuring, and disrupting its enablers.

Read our report.

Our Blueprint

The Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport has supplied the Assad regime with billions of dollars of arms used to kill over 100,000 Syrian civilians. Now, America is arming Syrian rebels at the same time that we are buying helicopters for Afghanistan—from the same arms dealer that supplies Assad.

The only winners of this arms contract are Putin’s cronies who run Rosoboronexport and receive billions from Assad…and millions from U.S. taxpayers.

Human Rights First’s blueprint, How to Stop Doing Business with Russia’s Arm Exporter, provides a roadmap for the Defense Department to end U.S. arms procurement from companies that enable atrocities.

Read our Blueprint.

Stop the Atrocity Supply Chain

Resources & How They Are Used

Military Equipment

Russia’s state arms dealer Rosoboronexport provides the Assad regime mortar shells and explosives, infantry vehicles, ammunition, sniper rifles, assault rifles, weapons maintenance, and other arms to carry out indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and other atrocities.

Additional Information

Maritime Shipments: A large number of cargo vessels have docked in Syria. Given evasive tactics and lack of disclosure, the exact quantity of arms shipments by sea is unclear. However, these are three shipments that attracted international condemnation.

– Chariot: In January 2012, the Russian-operated ship delivered nearly 60 tons of ammunition and explosives from St. Petersburg to the Syrian port of Tartous.

– Professor Katsman: In May 2012, Carried a cargo designated as spare parts and rotor blades, as well as other undisclosed cargo, from St. Petersburg to Russia in May 2012. The Syrian regime could use these parts to keep attack helicopters functional.

– Alaed: Attempted to carry repaired attack helicopters from Kaliningrad to Tartous in June 2012, before its U.K. based insurer retracted its insurance coverage.

Aerial Provisions: Russia has also attempted to transport military equipment to Syria through aerial corridor including:

– Communication Equipment: In October 2012, Russia reportedly attempted to ship communication equipment and ammunition to the Syrian Defense Ministry.

– Attack Helicopters: In November and December 2012, Russia attempted to ship repaired Mi-25 attack helicopters from the 150 Aircraft Repair Plant in Kaliningrad to Syria.

Diesel Fuel & Gasoil

Except for a brief pause in 2012, Russia continues to supply Assad multibillion of dollars worth of diesel fuel. Diesel powers all of the regime’s tanks and its entire ground infantry fleet, and is necessary to transport regime fighters and military supplies. Tanks and infantry vehicles are instrumental in perpetrating widespread and systematic indiscriminate acts on civilian areas, as well as other crimes against humanity.

Additional Information

Maritime Shipments: The exact quantity and number of shipments are unclear. These instances likely reflect only some of the provisions of diesel from Russia to Syria.

Cape Benat: In April 2012, the Cape Benat carried refined oil from Russia to Mahrukat, Syria’s petroleum storage and distribution company.

Ottomana and Barbarica: In December 2012, these two shipments traveled to Syria carrying about 42,000 combined tons of gasoil.

Financial Assistance

Syrian bank accounts in Russia allow Syria to pay for imports and receive funds for exports, while Russia also is printing banknotes for Syria and reportedly is considering or has provided loans to Syria. This financial assistance allows the regime to continue procuring resources, pay soldiers, and evade Western sanctions.

Additional Information

Banking: Documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal from 2012 discuss creating offshore bank accounts in Russia and Malaysia in Euro and Ruble denominated accounts to pay for imports and receive funds for export.

Currency: Flight manifests and public comments from officials show that between July and Sept. 2012, Goznak, a Russian firm that prints money from several countries, sent 240 tons of banknotes from Moscow to Damascus.

Funding: Russian officials have reportedly negotiated a comprehensive loan program with the Syrian regime in Feb 2012. Syrian officials considered asking Russia in November 2012 for a $2 billion loan.

Stop the Atrocity Supply Chain

For two years, countries and commercial entities have successfully provided the Assad regime with the munitions, supplies, and money they need to sustain their brutal campaign. Human Rights First’s report, The Enablers of the Syrian Conflict: How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria, marks the two-year anniversary of the conflict in Syria and provides the most comprehensive look at these “enablers” of Syrian atrocities. As the U.S. government and other countries consider options in response to the Syrian crisis, they should use this roadmap to stem the bloodshed there by choking the flow of arms, resources, and money flowing to President Bashar al-Assad.

Read the Report

Stop the Atrocity Supply Chain

Enablers of Mass Atrocities

Introduction

The Syrian crisis is a human rights catastrophe.

Today, over 70,000 Syrians have been killed — mostly civilians, over 4000 children. And the number is mounting with no end in sight.

Mass atrocities are complex, organized crimes. The Assad regime requires the assistance of “enablers” – governments, commercial entities, and individuals that provide resources, goods, services, or other support that sustain the commission of atrocities.

Together, these enablers form a supply chain that fuels Assad’s crimes against humanity.

Human Rights First has been tracking enablers of Assad’s atrocities. This project maps that supply chain and provides a roadmap for the United States to disrupt them.

Our Report

In our latest report, Enablers of the Syrian Conflict How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria, Human Rights First found that enablers of Syrian atrocities include the country’s large allies but also smaller countries and commercial entities as well:

Russia, North Korea, and Iran have provided the Assad regime military weapons, fuel, and financial assistance.

Venezuela, Angola, and private entities in Georgia, Lebanon, and Cyprus sent diesel fuel.

Private companies in Italy, the United States, and Greece provided communications and surveillance technology—some of which relied on American-based telecommunications platforms.

The threats to regional security make the Syrian crisis a vital threat to U.S. national security interests. But U.S. efforts to slow or stop the crisis—diplomacy and sanctions, primarily—have had little effect. The United States can more effectively stem atrocities in Syria by systematically isolating, pressuring, and disrupting its enablers.

Click here to download our report: Enablers of the Syrian Conflict How Targeting Third Parties Can Slow the Atrocities in Syria