Shadow Armies – A report on the phenomenon of mercenary recruitment in Syria

Based on dozens of interviews conducted by the monitoring team and the evidence, documents, and surveys collected by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression researchers, the “ Shadow Armies” report sheds light on the violation of Syrian mercenary recruitment abroad, tracks recruitment paths, and identifies the parties involved in this practice. The report provides an overview of the legal system for mercenaries in international armed conflicts and its shortcomings and ambiguities, especially the texts related to the conditions that must be met by a mercenary, such as those related to motivation, gains, and actual participation in the conflict.

It also presents the determinants of the criminal responsibility of mercenaries for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law and the international criminal and civil liability for compensation incurred by the countries that use them. This is part of the Center’s endeavor to reduce the phenomenon of impunity and ensure accountability for crimes and gross violations of human rights through impartial and independent investigations and trials, providing justice to all victims and contributing to preventing the recurrence of violations in the future.

Below you can read the full report: