Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Assad regime-Russia alliance of committing possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by attacking civilians in Idlib province and called for sanctions against top military officials.
In a report released on Thursday, the New York-based rights body said that repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib between April 2019 and March 2020 violated international law. In addition to killing hundreds of civilians, the attacks seriously impaired the rights of the population to health, education, and an adequate standard of living, including food, water, and housing.
“The repeated unlawful attacks appear part of a deliberate military strategy to destroy civilian infrastructure and force out the population, making it easier for the Assad regime to retake control,” said HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth.
“Concerted international efforts are needed to demonstrate that there are consequences for unlawful attacks, to deter future atrocities, and to show that no one can elude accountability for grave crimes because of their rank or position,” Roth added.
The report documents and examined 46 attacks on civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals in Idlib province during the 11-month offensive. The 46 attacks “represent only a fraction of the total military campaign in Idlib and surrounding areas.” HRW also said that the attacks killed at least 224 civilians and injured 561 people and displaced 1.4 million people.
The documented strikes damaged 12 healthcare facilities and 10 schools, five markets, four displaced persons camps, four residential neighborhoods, two commercial areas, and a prison, church, stadium, and nongovernmental organization office were also damaged in the attacks, HRW added. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)