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United Nations: Assad regime, Russia and US committed war crimes in Syria

September 12, 2019 at 3:48 am

Civil defense crews remove a dead body from the scene after airstrikes by Assad Regime and Russia’s warplanes hit the de-escalation zone of Kafriya village in Idlib, Syria on 13 July 2019. [Ahmet Weys – Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations has accused several parties of committing war crimes in Syria, most notably the Syrian regime, Russia, and the United States. UN investigators said, Wednesday, that the airstrikes carried out by the US-led coalition in Syria resulted in killing and injuring many civilians, pointing out that precautions have been ignored and war crimes may have been committed.

According to the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the Syrian regime and warplanes owned by its Russian ally are also waging a fierce campaign, apparently targeting medical facilities, schools, markets, and arable lands. Thus, many details about the campaign could amount to war crimes as well.

Investigators accused Tahrir Al-Sham, formerly Al-Nusra Front, of indiscriminately firing rockets and killing civilians.

The UN report indicated that Al-Jazeera Storm operation, launched by the coalition in December last year in the eastern town of Hajin, the last major Daesh stronghold, resulted in a large number of civilian casualties including a series of strikes on 3 January that killed 16 civilians,  12 of whom are children.

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Investigators also unveiled that night raids launched by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the coalition helicopters, killed and wounded civilians in parts of Deir ez-Ezor province, in other apparent violations of international law.

The report also accused the Syrian regime forces of carrying out repeated airstrikes in Saraqib, northwest of Idlib on 9 March, damaging a women’s and children’s hospital, although pro-government forces knew the hospital’s coordinates in advance.

Pro-regime forces in Idlib dropped, on 14 May, between two and four rockets at a fish market and a girls’ primary school in Jisr Al-Shughur, killing at least eight civilians. “Such attacks may amount to a war crime of intentionally targeting what a presumably protected location and deliberately targeting medical personnel,” the committee stressed.

The report covered the events that took place during the Syrian conflict for an entire year, until last July, based on nearly 300 interviews and analysis of satellite images, photographs, and video chunks.