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Rape and other forms of sexual violence have been a persistent feature of the armed conflict in Syria and have been used by state security forces and associated militias, as well as by armed groups, to instil fear, humiliate and punish. Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) involving male victims/survivors is most common within government detention facilities where independent international investigations have revealed systematic sexual torture of male detainees, including young boys. CRSV against men and boys by Syrian security forces or armed groups linked to them has also taken place during house raids and at checkpoints. There are reports of sexual violence against men and boys by armed groups, including by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and concerns that boys unlawfully recruited by armed groups are at risk of CRSV. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) people, who already faced persecution in Syria where consensual same-sex relations are illegal, have become more vulnerable since the conflict broke out, including to CRSV in detention and within the ranks of the Syrian army.
The availability of medical care and other support for victims/survivors of sexual violence in Syria is extremely limited. Those who flee Syria, including men, boys and/including LGBTI+ people, have faced sexual violence during their flight, including at border crossings, in immigration detention settings or within host communities. Health and other care for male and LGBTI+ victims/survivors in countries of refuge are often not available to or accessible by them.