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Museum Statement on Worsening Atrocities Targeting Syrian Civilians

Press Contacts


WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is gravely concerned by escalating violence and mass killing in Syria following its bearing witness trip to Syria’s border and warns that the security situation for civilians is likely to deteriorate further in the coming months. “Tragically, we heard from those displaced that there was nowhere else people could flee,” said Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. “Those areas of the country where refuge has been sought, notably Idlib province and the besieged areas of the Damascus suburbs, are likely to be the next killing fields in this brutal conflict.”

For nearly seven years, the world has been witness to the crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. Tactics, including torture and murder, besieging entire communities, aerial bombardment, and the use of chemical weapons are seeing a resurgence today as international efforts to end the violence have waned.

Over 500,000 Syrians have been killed and 13 million Syrians have been forced from their homes in the worst humanitarian crisis since the World War II. More than half of those displaced, some six million civilians, have been able to take refuge in foreign countries, an option not available to most European Jews during the Holocaust. Nearly 7,000 Syrians are here in the United States under Temporary Protective Status.  

“As our leaders contemplate appropriate options to address this crisis and safeguard our own national interest, we should take into account the potentially deadly consequences of any premature repatriation of Syrians,” said Cameron Hudson, Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. 

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possibly by generous donors. For more information, visit