Geneva – The continuing indifference to civilian lives in Syria is a crime against humanity, warned the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, pointing to the recent random attacks perpetrated by the forces of both Bashar Al-Assad and Russia in Aleppo and the northern countryside.
Based on on-the-ground reports, Euro-Med Monitor charges that civilians are being killed on a daily basis by random airstrikes by the two forces, largely free of international attention. For example, on August 16, 60 civilians were killed in Aleppo and the surrounding area, and many more were injured. Between September 2015 and August 2016, 2,704 Syrian civilians—including 746 children and 514 women—have been killed by Russian forces. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a Euro-Med partner, the largest number of victims—1,178 civilians—were from Aleppo.
" We condemn the use of incendiary weapons by Assad and Russian forces in their attacks against residential neighborhoods, causing great damage and hard-to-control fires,” says Sandra Owen, spokesperson for the Euro-Med Monitor.
Mohammed Al-Khatib, a media activist living in Aleppo, told Euro-Med Monitor that “hospitals in the city are overcrowded with injured civilians and are suffering from a severe shortage of medical staff.” Families live in a constant state of panic, under the constant surveillance of Russian and Syrian warplanes. In addition, there is a severe shortage of food, water and electricity due to a monthlong blockade.
Videos shot by city activists show an August 16 attack on one of the open markets (Souq Hay Tareeq Al-Bāb), known as “the market on the Way to the Gate,” east of Aleppo. The video shows the rubble, destroyed shops and people collecting the remains of 25 civilians killed in airstrikes.
The Euro-Med Monitor team also has viewed another video showing Russian warplanes targeting one of the hospitals in the western Aleppo countryside. Meera Bshara, legal researcher for the Euro-Med Monitor, concludes, “If the United Nations does not act soon to protect civilians in Syria, especially in Aleppo, the international security system will be in real danger.”
Euro-Med Monitor also warns that Russian airstrikes on the Syrian city of Aleppo are a clear violation of international human rights law. The civilian population must be protected from the ongoing conflict.