Thursday, 11 January 2018 18:24

UN: Raising Concerns War Crimes May Have Been Committed in Eastern Ghouta

The United Nations human rights chief on Wednesday condemned an upsurge in civilian casualties in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta amid the recent escalation in airstrikes and ground-based attacks by Assad regime forces and their allies, noting that at least 85 civilians have been killed since 31 December.

“The reports emerging from Eastern Ghouta of civilian casualties as a result of airstrikes suggest that attacking forces may be failing to abide by the international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions, raising concerns that war crimes may have been committed,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

“The suffering of the people of Syria knows no end. In Eastern Ghouta, where a crippling siege has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, residential areas are being hit day and night by strikes from the ground and from the air, forcing civilians to hide in basements,” Hussein added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed grave concern about the situation of an estimated two million people in Idlib province where increased clashes between regeime forces, together with their allies, and the armed opposition groups have displaced tens of thousands of civilians. He stressed that all parties are obliged under international law to distinguish between lawful military targets and civilians and civilian objects.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said that Russia and Iran must put pressure on the Assad regime and shoulder their responsibilities towards the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement which was agreed upon by the three countries.

Since 31 December, at least 85 civilians, including 21 women and 30 children, have been killed and at least 183 injured in Eastern Ghouta, according to information gathered by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Live about 400 thousand civilians East Balgoth, in the tragic living conditions, due to the siege of Assad's forces for the region and continuous bombardment by years ago, as the regime forces tightened with sectarian militias 8-month siege on the eastern Ghouta since, what stopped the arrival of all the medicines and food to the region.

Some 400,000 civilians currently trapped in eastern Ghouta live in tragic conditions as a result of the crippling siege and relentless bombardment by Assad forces which has been ongoing for years. Regime forces and their allied foreign militias have further tightened the siege on the area since the spring of 2017 and have since then blocked the introduction of all food and medical supplies.

The onslaught on eastern Ghouta continues though the area is one of four ‘de-escalation zones’ that were established under an agreement that was reached last year during talks Astana, with Russia, Iran and Turkey as guarantors. The area is the last major stronghold for rebel groups near the capital Damascus and has been under siege by regime forces since 2012. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

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