Regime and Russian forces stepped up airstrikes on rural Idlib on Friday, killing 20 civilians and injuring at least 35. The airstrikes were concentrated on populated areas and vital civilian facilities.
Activists said that Russian aircrafts targeted a center of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the town of Ariha west of Idlib injuring 13 civilians, while at least one person was killed and eight more injured in regime airstrike on a medical center in the town. Civilian casualties, including children, were also reported in airstrikes on the town of Maaret Masrin.
The UN Security Council on Thursday expressed its outrage at recent attacks in Syria targeting civilians and medical facilities, stressing that these attacks may amount to war crimes.
In a press statement, the 15-nation council recalled “the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks and attacks against civilians and civilian objects.”
“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the primary responsibility of the Assad regime to protect the population in Syria and reiterated that parties to the armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians,” the statement said.
The members also expressed their “deep concern at violations of the cessation of hostilities endorsed by Security Council resolution 2268 (2016).”
The members of the Security Council reiterated their call “on all parties to immediately implement in full the provisions of Security Council resolutions relating to Syria, including resolutions 2139 (2013), 2165 (2014) 2191 (2014) and 2258 (2015), as well as resolution 2286 (2016) relating to health care in armed conflict.”
Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker on Thursday said that Turkey’s proposal for establishing a safe zone in northern Syria could be discussed if the cessation of hostilities in Syria failed.
“It certainly should be looked at as an avenue,” Bob Corker said, noting that the U.S. has missed the opportunity to change the tide in Syria.
“In many ways we missed our opportunities to really affect things in a more positive way,” Corker said, noting that Russian intervention has propped up the Assad regime and resulted in an end to diplomatic negotiations brokered by the UN.
“Unfortunately it is going to be driven by Russians because they came in with forces in a way that the U.S. would not do,” Corker said, referring to the Syrian talks ongoing in Geneva.
On Wednesday, member of the Syrian Coalition and the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) George Sabra said that the HNC’s delegation would return to negotiations only after the formation of monitoring committees to hold violations of the truce to account.
Sabra stressed that negotiations cannot be resumed unless all humanitarian demands were fully met; namely, the implementation of Articles 12, 13 and 14 of UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Sabra stressed the need for establishing a clear agenda and a strict timetable for political transition with the formation of a transitional governing body with full powers at their core. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)