The Assad, backed by Russia, has intensified unlawful attacks on civilians in Idlib using internationally banned cluster munitions and unguided barrel bombs, Amnesty International said on Friday. The Syrian Coalition said that these reports provide yet further evidence of the war crimes Assad and his allies are committing in Syria, calling on the United Nations put an end to such attacks.
Amnesty International called on the international community to use its influence to “immediately end unlawful attacks and prevent more appalling civilian losses.” It warned that these attacks came as “a prelude to a widely anticipated military offensive” on Idlib province.
The watchdog group said that at least 13 attacks were reported to have taken place between 7 and 10 September in the southern part of Idlib governorate. The bombardments killed 14 civilians and injured 35 more.
“The Syrian government has routinely used banned cluster munitions and barrel bombs across Syria to inflict terrible harm and suffering on civilians. Now, they have started duplicating these horrific tactics in Idlib and we don’t have any reason to believe that they will stop,” said Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Syria researcher.
Nearly three million people live in Idlib, half of whom were displaced from other parts of Syria, especially Aleppo, eastern Ghouta, Darayya, Qalamoun, rural Homs, and Dara’a. According to UN humanitarian agencies, more than 2 million people in Idlib are in dire need of food, water and health care.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that these systematic attacks by the Assad regime and Russia were aimed at forcing the Syrian people to surrender, especially through the targeting of medical facilities.
Mustafa stressed that the attacks on Idlib and its countryside amounted to a war crime. He noted that these attacks are being launched “under the auspices of a country that has a responsibility to maintain international peace and security.” He also said that Russia bears primary responsibility for these crimes as its actions have encouraged disrespect for international law by covering up the crimes of the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)