A monitoring group said that it had recorded hundreds of violations and dozens of massacres claiming the lives of over a thousand people, including children and women, in Idlib province since the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement took effect nearly a year ago.
In a report detailing violations of the agreement which was concluded by Russia, Iran, and Turkey in the Kazakh capital Astana in June 2017, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Assad regime and Russian forces have committed no fewer than 30 massacres in Idlib province since that date. The massacres claimed the lives of at least 1,109 civilians, including 255 children and 209 women.
The Network recorded at least 233 attacks on vital civilian centers, including 50 schools, 34 healthcare facilities, and 16 public markets in the reporting period.
The report indicated that the Assad regime and Russian forces have not stopped the use of internationally prohibited weapons in the bombing of Idlib province, citing the sarin attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April 4, 2017. These forces also used cluster munitions 19 times and incendiary munitions 16 times as well as dropped over 700 barrel bombs on the province.
The Network accused Russia, Iran and the Assad regime of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, demanding that those crimes be referred to the International Criminal Court to hold the perpetrators to account. It also called for expanding the international sanctions to include the Russian and Iranian regimes as they were directly involved in those crimes.
The Assad regime and Russian forces have considerably intensified bombardment of Idlib and its countryside in recent weeks, with rebel-held towns and villages being subjected to daily bombardment by warplanes, helicopters, heavy artillery and rockets. Scores of civilians have been killed in several massacres and several health centers have been destroyed.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the need to ensure full protection for civilians in Idlib and its countryside as it is now home to nearly three million people, half of whom were forcibly displaced from other areas across Syria.
The Coalition called on humanitarian organizations to provide urgent support for the displaced people who suffer lack of appropriate shelter and basic necessities of life. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)