Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, said that the escalation of fighting in Idlib have left around half a million civilians with no choice but to flee.
Speaking on Syria at a UN Human Rights Council session on Tuesday, Pinheiro said that many of the IDPs are “compelled to live under completely inadequate conditions, forced to sleep in the open, without access to food, water or medical care.” He also said that the demilitarized buffer zone in northwestern Syria has become a battleground, adding that women and children are the most affected by the military operations.
Pinheiro went on to say that aerial and ground offensives by pro-regime forces destroyed infrastructure essential to the survival of the civilian population, including markets, educational facilities, agricultural resources and, most notably, hospitals.
In a report issued on Monday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said that the Assad regime and Russian forces have deliberately bombed and destroyed as many houses as possible, especially targeting vital facilities located in the fourth de-escalation zone since the beginning of the recent military campaign on April 26.
The report indicated that that “the extensive destruction inflicted through intense aerial carpet-bombing is not a chaotic process, but a deliberate strategy aimed at destroying as many buildings and facilities as possible to punish the inhabitants of those areas.
The Assad regime’s forces, with direct Russian support, have launched a fierce military campaign in the de-escalation zone in Idlib province in recent months. A ceasefire was declared on August 30, but regime forces violated it several times, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)