The Russian government has given promises to investigate civilian casualties from airstrikes in Syria, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Sunday.
In a letter sent to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on November 22, 2016, the human rights watchdog detailed 16 Assad regime-Russian aerial attacks that have deliberately or indiscriminately hit civilians and civilian infrastructure including bakeries, markets, and humanitarian objects between September 30, 2015 and September 19, 2016.
The attacks killed a total of 141 civilians. Russia had made a commitment to investigate attacks in Syria “leading to significant civilian casualties” and to report the findings to the International Syrian Support Group Ceasefire Task Force and the UN Security Council, HRW added.
In the November letter, HRW asked about investigations into Assad regime-Russian coalition aerial attacks in Syria that killed and injured civilians.
The Russian government should investigate the 16 airstrikes HRW documented, publicly report the findings and compensate affected families, HRW said.
“The civilians maimed in Syrian-Russian aerial attacks, and the relatives of those killed are still waiting for answers and compensation for their losses,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Referring to US President Donald Trump indication that he would consider partnering with Russia in the fight against the ISIS extremist in Syria, Fakih said that “the United States should take all the precautions needed to ensure that any joint operations do not contribute to civilian casualties.”
Last week, the Syrian Coalition renewed calls on the UN Security Council to initiate judicial proceedings based on the mechanism adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 21, 2016 which called for an investigation of war crimes in Syria and the prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes since 2011.
The Coalition called for referring the latest HRW findings in Syria, along with other investigations and similar reports, including the report on Saydnaya Prison by Amnesty International titled “Human Slaughterhouse,” to the ICC to ensure that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)