The Assad regime and Russian forces continue to target unarmed civilians in the Idlib and Hama countryside, leaving hundreds dead and injured and forcing more than 300,000 people out of their homes amid deafening silence by the international community.
In a report published on Wednesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that shelling and airstrikes by the Assad regime and its allies in Hama and Idlib provinces killed at least 108 civilians and injured hundreds more. Of those, 71 were killed by the Assad regime, including 12 children and 18 women, while 37 civilians, including 14 children and six women, were killed in attacks by the Russian forces.
The monitoring group said it counted at least 82 attacks on vital civilian centers, including 28 attacks on schools, 11 on places of worship, 18 on medical facilities and nine on civil defense centers. The Assad regime was responsible for 42 attacks, while Russian forces were responsible for 40 others.
The Network said that it documented at least 1,068 airstrikes in the region, 496 of which were carried out by the Assad air force and 572 others by the Russian forces. It also noted that it recorded no fewer than 132 ground attacks and one attack in which the Russian forces used cluster munitions. It also said that helicopters of the Assad regime dropped at least 188 barrel bombs on Idlib province.
The Network pointed out that the Assad regime and Russian forces have stepped up their bombing campaign on the region since April 26, adding that the Assad regime has resumed the use of barrel bombs since April 30 for the first time since the Idlib agreement was signed in September 2018.
The Assad regime and Russian forces had violated several provisions of the International Humanitarian Law, most notably not discriminating between civilians and combatants as well as between civilian and military targets. It said that the attacks on hospitals, schools, and civilian neighborhoods constituted war crimes.
The report criticized the latest remarks made by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who called for an end to the military escalation in Idlib without naming who was responsible for the air attacks on hospitals and schools. It called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to consolidate the ceasefire in Idlib and impose punitive measures against whichever party that violates the resolution.
Moreover, the Network called on the UN Secretary-General to plainly identify those who are responsible for the violations in order condemn their actions and expose their practices. It stressed that insisting on ignoring these violations will encourage the perpetrators to commit more crimes. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)