The United Nations said that the displacement operations being carried out by the regime forces in a number of areas across Syria amount to war crimes as they are being enforced on the residents of these areas.
The “de-escalation zones” agreement has so far failed to stop attacks on civilians, the UN said. Access to humanitarian and medical assistance continues to be systematically denied, particularly by the Assad regime forces and allied militias.
Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian chief on Tuesday said that the Assad regime is increasingly using civilian suffering as “a tactic of war,” saying the regime continues to deny aid to the needy and pushes people in besieged cities to choose between starvation and death or fleeing to locations that are just as unsafe.
O’Brien told the UN Security Council that thousands of Syrians in at least 10 communities had to face that choice in recent months.
“These are evacuations that have followed years of intense airstrikes, shelling and sniping,” O’Brien said. “The tactics are all too obvious: make life intolerable and make death likely.”
“There needs to be accountability for these actions, for these ‘starve and surrender tactics’ — a monstrous form of cruelty to impose upon a civilian population,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien went on to say that “tens of thousands of children have been killed, and for those who have survived till today, the outlook remains bleak.”
“Children have been forcibly detained, they have been tortured, subjected to sexual violence, forcibly recruited and in some cases executed.”
O’Brien warned that “nearly 1.75 million children remain out of school and another 1.35 million are at risk of dropping out. 7,400 schools – one in three across the country – have been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise made inaccessible.”
The United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the Assad regime “continues to imprison tens of thousands of its people. It subjects them to such violence and inhumane conditions – including torture and sexual violence – that those who manage to survive suffer devastating and lasting damage.”
Haley, who was speaking prior to a closed meeting of the UN Security Council on the Humanitarian situation in Syria on Tuesday, told the 15-member body that the Assad regime “continues to put up bureaucratic roadblocks to the delivery of life-saving food and medicine.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)