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This report focuses on two specific war crimes and crimes against humanity committed repeatedly in certain parts of Syria since March 2011, namely the unlawful destruction and appropriation of civilian property and the forcible displacement and transfer of civilian population.

Together they constitute what appears to be a state policy of sectarian cleansing, driven by a combination of mafia-style war profiteering linked to the inner circle of the Syrian regime and a Shi’atisation programme pushed and financed by the Iranian regime and implemented with the help of Hezbollah Lebanon.

There has been a lot of talk among Syrians about these two subjects over the past two years. But not many people, to our knowledge, are working on documenting and analysing them in a systematic and legally useful way. The majority of what is published and circulated in this regard is often mere rumours, unconfirmed reports or inconsistent information.

The primary aim of this report, therefore, is to raise the alarm on what appears to be a very serious issue for the future of Syria. The report does not claim or aim to provide detailed evidence of specific instances of the crimes in question. It simply provides a few examples and indicators that would need further examination and investigation by specialised bodies. We hope that the legal framework and discussion provided will stimulate and provide some guidance for such efforts.