U.S Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the Assad regime was guilty of war crimes for failing to allow humanitarian access to towns where starvation is rampant, including in Madaya, adding that the regime had granted only 13 of 113 requests by the United Nations for such access.
“Starvation as a tactic of war is against the laws of war, and it is being used every single day as a tactic by the Assad regime,” Mr. Kerry said during a meeting in Rome aimed at reviewing the fight against ISIS.
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that starvation of Syrian civilians is a potential war crime and a crime against humanity that should be prosecuted and not covered by any amnesty linked to ending the conflict.
Speaking in a news briefing in Geneva yesterday, the top UN human rights official said: “In the case of Syria, we are there to remind everyone that where there are allegations that reach the threshold of war crimes or crimes against humanity that amnesties are not permissible.”
“We estimate that tens of thousands are held in arbitrary detention and clearly they need to be released,” Al Hussein added.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Hisham Marwa said last week that “the Assad regime’s siege and bombardment of civilians violate UN Security Council resolutions. Assad has been committing these crimes under military and political cover by Russia. Meanwhile, the Assad regime continues to deceive the international community and procrastinate with regard to the political process.”
“Assad seeks to thwart any possible political solution through besieging civilians amid the international community’s failure to enforce UN Security Council resolutions which call for lifting sieges and the delivery of aid to besieged areas,” Marwa added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)