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More than 350 massacres in Syria this year, says rights group

A protester with his mouth taped with black tape stages a show with a red painted shrouded doll, symbolizing murdered children and babies during a demonstration, condemning massacres and attacks in Syria's on 8 December, 2016 [Berk Özkan/Anadolu Agency]
A protester with his mouth taped with black tape stages a show with a red painted shrouded doll, symbolizing murdered children and babies during a demonstration, condemning massacres and attacks in Syria's on 8 December, 2016 [Berk Özkan/Anadolu Agency]

Parties to the conflict in Syria have committed as many as 358 massacres since January this year, the Syrian Human Rights Network has revealed. The details were provided in the group’s monthly report.

At least 33 massacres were committed in November alone, mainly in Deir Ez-Zor and Eastern Ghoutah, of which most — 16 to be exact — were committed by troops loyal to the Assad regime. Thirteen others were committed by Russian forces, it is alleged, with one attributed to the international coalition.

Deir Ez-Zor suffered the most, said the SHRN, with six massacres by regime forces and 11 by the Russians. The coalition was responsible for one massacre in the area, with other parties committing two. According to the report, the regime forces also committed 10 massacres in the land around Damascus and the Russians committed one there and one in Aleppo.

At least 410 people were killed in these incidents, including 135 children and 62 women, indicating strongly that the main targets for the perpetrators were civilians. Last month alone, said the SHRN, 123 people were killed, including 37 children and 18 women.

Read: Deir Ez-Zor massacre: 100 killed in coalition air strike

The total number of people killed by Russian forces was 254, of which 87 were children and 42 were women. The international coalition forces killed five civilians, including one child. Other parties killed 28 people, including ten children and two women.

The report stressed that the bombing responsible for these killings was deliberate or indiscriminate and targeted unarmed civilians. It pointed out that the Syrian-Russian alliance has violated international human rights law which guarantees the right to life.

“These violations were perpetrated during a non-international armed conflict which amount to war crimes as all elements of a war crime have been fulfilled,” the SHRN explained. “In addition, international coalition forces and other parties have committed massacres. However, these crimes are not crimes against humanity as is the case of Syrian regime forces and their pro-regime allies that are committing massacres in a widespread and systematic manner.”

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