Rights Group: Assad & Russia Forces Responsible for Majority of Crimes in September
The Assad regime forces and their allies came on top of the list of perpetrators of the massacres that took place in Syria during September despite their signing off on ceasefire agreements.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) on Monday issued a report documenting the massacres that took place in September. The report indicated a sharp increase in the crimes committed by the Assad regime and Russian forces following a noticeable four-month decrease in the number of these crimes.
According to the report, regime forces were responsible for 42 percent of the massacres that the Network recorded in September. Russian forces were responsible for about 33 percent of the massacres, while the international anti-ISIS coalition forces were responsible for 23 percent.
The monitoring group said that 63 percent of the massacres committed by the Assad regime and Russian forces took place in Deir Ezzor province, while 50 percent of the massacres that were committed by the international coalition forces took place in the province of Raqqa.
The Network said that it recorded as many as 286 massacres in Syria since the beginning of 2017, including 43 massacres that were recorded in September 2017. Of those massacres recorded in September, 18 were committed by regime forces, 14 by Russian forces, and 10 by the international coalition forces.
According to the Network, the September massacres claimed the lives of 430 people, including 139 children and 85 women. Women and children accounted for 53% of the victims, a ratio which the rights group described as “very high.” It stressed that these figures indicated that the attacks “targeted mainly the civilian population.”
The report stressed that these figures makes it imperative to designate as terrorist groups the militias fighting alongside regime forces and which are responsible for many massacres, including most notably the Iranian militias, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces, and the pro-Assad paramilitary troops, also known as Shabeeha.
The Network said that Russia, as a “guarantor" of the Assad regime, must not allow the regime to sabotage the “de-escalation zones” agreements. It also called on Russia to push towards achieving a breakthrough in the issue of detainees by forcing the Assad regime to reveal the fate of over 76,000 forcibly disappeared people. SNHR also called for the activation of the "protection of civilians" principle which was approved by the UN General Assembly in 2005. (Source: Syrian Coalition's Media Department)