The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Assad regime and its allies committed no fewer than 22 massacres during the month of January. The upsurge in violence in the Idlib province and eastern Ghouta prompted the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry to express “deep concern over the further escalation of violence in Idlib governorate and in eastern Ghouta.”
In its monthly report detailing the massacres in Syria, the Network said that at least 28 massacres were committed in January 2018, including 22 by the Assad regime and Russian forces.
The monitoring group indicated that the massacres claimed the lives of around 260 civilians, including 88 children and 71 women. It indicated that women and children accounted for 62 per cent of the total number of victims.
“These reports are extremely troubling, and make a mockery of the so-called ‘de-escalation zones’ intended to protect civilians from such bombardment,” said Paulo Pinheiro, Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry in a statement Monday. “The parties to this conflict are failing in their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their absolute obligation to refrain from attacks against medical facilities and personnel,” Pinheiro added.
The Commission said that mounting attacks in Idlib province come at a time when the escalation of violence in eastern Ghouta has also magnified the longstanding humanitarian crisis in that besieged Damascus suburb.
“What is happening in eastern Ghouta is not simply a humanitarian crisis because aid is denied, these sieges involve the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population,” Pinheiro added.
The Commission called on all parties to abide by the basic principles of international humanitarian law and to take every necessary precaution to protect civilians. It reiterated its supports all efforts to promote accountability and find a political solution to the conflict.
“The Commission remains committed to fulfilling its mandate to investigate and document all human rights violations occurring in the context of the Syrian armed conflict, regardless of who commits them.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)