The Syrian Legal Development Programme (SLDP) was established in 2013 to address complex legal needs arising from the conflict,  and operates as a non-aligned, non- governmental organisation.

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The Syrian Legal Development Programme (SLDP) was established in 2013 and operates as a non-aligned, non- governmental organisation. The idea of SLDP emerged as a result of the Syrian conflict, which erupted in 2011, after realising the importance of addressing complex legal needs triggered by conflicts. 

These needs concern both the country as a whole and different stakeholders in the conflict.  It is of utmost importance to address legal voids in order to prevent major human rights violations  and uphold the rule of law, and this is particularly complex in conflict areas. 

Different stakeholders, such as humanitarian workers and NGOs, civil society organizations, temporary institutions and the general public  have many and various legal needs. Addressing these needs for Syrians is a task with huge challenges due to the ever changing dynamics of the conflict. SLDP has made its mission to utilise its legal expertise and contextual knowledge to address current and developing legal needs in Syria. 

Through its team of researchers, lawyers, trainers and human rights advocates, SLDP’s mandate is to promote human rights and the rule of law to minimise the negative humanitarian consequences of the Syrian conflict.


SLDP offers a unique combination of legal expertise, field analysis and academic research which it combines with its political knowledge and strategic thinking. We understand the practical challenges facing those working in such areas, and have strong language abilities, cultural and political understanding  which enables us to adapt to the ever changing and risky dynamics of this conflict. 

Through SLDP’s widespread links with leading experts in international law and its strong ties and networks with different international and local organizations and institutions worldwide, we have been able to offer high quality consultations and training to those in need, on a variety of legal topics such as International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law, Public International Law and International Criminal Law.


SLDP’s scope of work embraces a variety of services, projects and activities that are implemented either in Syria itself, neighbouring countries and other states that are involved or have a stake in the conflict. We also hold events and research activities worldwide.

We believe strongly in the rule of law and SLDP utilises international law as its main legal instrument. Issues related to Syria’s domestic laws, or any other domestic jurisdictions that are relevant to the conflict in Syria, do not fall within the scope of work of SLDP unless related to international law.

Our scope of work includes:







SLDP prides itself on the exceptional quality and variety of its projects. All our projects are specifically tailored in order to meet the needs of both organizations and individuals working on the ground in conflict areas, address wider legal voids and gaps often found in conflicts as well as empower the communities affected with the development of the rule of law.

SLDP’s projects are either our initiative or come as a result of a specific request or need from a partner. 

Our Initiatives

These projects address legal voids found by our team that are vital to be addressed during conflicts. They are also mostly an outcome of our analysis of the conflict dynamics, previous projects, feedback and issues triggered by specific situations. Before quality execution, our self- initiated projects go through a needs assessment that enables us to create concrete project proposals and pitch it to potential partners.

Specific Requests


In light of its range of expertise and the diverse scope of work, SLDP is always willing and able to address specific legal requests of stakeholders who are concerned with the advancement of human rights, the rule of law, and the reduction of the suffering in Syria.  The requests SLDP receive come from individuals, groups, organisations, or states. After fully analysing the need, SLDP in return provides a tailored response drawing upon it’s legal, cultural and conflict expertise.

Projects We Initiated

The Syrian legal development Programme has launched a new Human Rights and Business Unit (HRBU). The Unit’s work is aimed at ensuring that human rights remain at the forefront of the conversation around reconstruction in Syria. Read more


To visit the Human Rights and Business Unit website, click here


Report: Launch event of the Human Rights and Business Unit at Chatham House

For the second year, SLDP, in in collaboration with Baytna Syria Organization, is offering support on matters related to international law to Syrian organizations working in the field of human rights,  humanitarian assistance, and the field of media and journalism inside Syria and/or Syrian organizations with headquarters in other countries but who work primarily on issues related to the internal situation in Syria.

An increase in domestic and international counterterrorism laws affects the sustainability of humanitarian work in Syria's dynamic operating environment, but these effects are often not fully understood by humanitarian actors on the ground. SLDP has developed a training to interpret these laws, their intersection with IHL and the humanitarian principles, and their implications on the work of the organisations through in-depth discussion and real-life examples from the Syrian context, alongside an explanation of CT laws related to each organisation’s work.

International law support for Syrian humanitarian and human rights NGOs operating in Syria and/or with bases in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Through this service, SLDP is serving as an in-house counsel to multiple Syrian organisations on matters related to international law with flexible responses to needs including workshops, proactive interventions, research, and analysis.

SLDP, supported by GOAL/NGO Forum, developed a handbook in Arabic and English for humanitarian workers in Syria, offering answers to 21 frequently asked questions regarding International Humanitarian Law in the Syrian context. 

For the English version, please download here

For the Arabic version, please download here

Initiated, with partners, an ongoing project on fair trial guarantees for non-state actors courts. Participants include legal professionals, academics, representatives of inter-governmental and supranational bodies and of governments.

Conducted International Humanitarian Law advocacy for non-state actors to increase their knowledge on the rules of war. Focus was put on targeting, civilian protection, means and method of warfare and the facilitation of aid.

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Projects Requested Of SLDP

As the work of the Syrian Civil Defence is becoming more complex due to use of several prohibited weapons and the interference of multiple factions in the Syrian conflict, SLDP delivered a training for SCD members on International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles and how these topics relate to their work. The training was tailored to the needs of the SCD and aimed to create IHL focal points within the organisation to increase IHL knowledge among its team.

In collaboration with Free Press Unlimited and Mithaq, SLDP designed and delivered a training to Syrian journalists covering topics of international law relevant to the Syrian context. Practical exercises and examples such as mock interviews, reporting, and analysis better prepared journalists to cover issues of international law in Syria.

"eyeWitness" is a mobile application produced by the International Bar Association to increase legal usage of documented atrocity crimes. Upon the request of the International Bar Association, the Syrian Legal Development Programme designed and delivered a training to 40 Syrian humanitarian, human rights and media organisation on international criminal law and standards of evidence in courts.

During the Geneva Talks, SLDP was hired by Syrian humanitarian NGOs to train and advise them on international law matters when engaging with States and UN officials. SLDP accompanied the NGOs into the UN and provided advice on ad hoc matters.

Assessment on Personal Status Documentation in Northern Syria. This project was requested by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and implemented through the International Rescue Committee.

International Humanitarian Law workshops for Humanitarian Workers. Trained more than 35 humanitarian organizations and 120 staff. These training were requested by a range of international and local humanitarian organisations.

Consultancy and training on humanitarian principles and Joint Operating Principles. This project was requested by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and NGO Forum.

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_____  NEWS & MEDIA



Legal experts teach Syrian rebels to prevent human rights abuses - Los Angeles Times

"Several organizations are training rebels in international humanitarian law in an effort to quell human rights violations and even war crimes by opposition groups. Olabi`s organization appears to be the only one offering training inside Syria, near the front lines."

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Syrian Legal Development Programme is registered in England and Wales as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee No. 8858576

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