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New tool helps U.S. group track sex crimes in Syria
The Women's Media Center is using new crowd-sourcing techniques to track rape and other sexual violence across Syria in one of the first efforts to monitor assaults against women during military conflict in real-time.
The effort by the Women's Media Center aims to shed light on such assaults and provide possible evidence to prosecute future human rights violations and war crimes. The group launched its website on Wednesday and said it was working with multiple Syrian activists whom it did not identify.
So far, the group has posted more than 20 reports, including deaths, from May 6, 2011, to March 17 and is verifying others.
Among incidents reported are undated allegations, labeled unverified, from a Palestinian news outlet that Syrian army forces raped 36 women near the villages of Kurin and Sahl Al-Rawj and from a YouTube video in which a man identified as a Syrian military volunteer says government forces kidnapped and raped 25 girls in Homs.
Crowd-sourcing allows the general public to provide information and report events very quickly. Reports can be made on the website, WomenUnderSiegeSyria.crowdmap.com, via e-mail or on Twitter using the hashtag #RapeinSyria.