Amnesty: Syrian regime guilty of ‘crimes against humanity’
LONDON: The Syrian regime’s sieges of its population ahead of reaching “reconciliation” agreements with the opposition amount to crimes and against humanity and war crimes, Amnesty International said on Monday.
In a report titled “We leave or we die,” Amnesty analyzed four local accords which the rights body said were preceded by unlawful sieges and bombardment aimed at forcing civilians to leave their homes.
“The sieges, unlawful killings and forced displacement by government forces are part of a systematic as well as widespread attack on the civilian population, therefore constituting crimes against humanity,” the report said.
Brokered between August 2016 and March 2017, the agreements came after prolonged sieges during which both the Syrian regime and opposition forces indiscriminately attacked civilians.
“The Syrian government and, to a lesser degree, armed opposition groups have enforced sieges on densely populated areas, depriving civilians of food, medicine and other basic necessities in violation of international humanitarian law,” Amnesty said.
Such actions by the Syrian regime in Daraya, Madaya, eastern Aleppo city, and the Al-Waer neighborhood in Homs city amounted to war crimes.
In eastern Aleppo city, Amnesty documented 10 attacks between July and December, 2016, during which the regime allegedly targeted neighborhoods “far away from the front lines and with no apparent military objectives in the vicinity.”
The human rights organization said it conducted the research using videos and satellite imagery alongside interviews with 134 people, including residents and UN officials, between April and September this year.
Amnesty appealed to the international community to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and demand unhindered access to the country for those investigating rights abuses.
Separately, Daesh terrorists regained control of Albu Kamal, their last stronghold in Syria, after Iranian-backed forces who claimed to have captured the city a few days earlier were ambushed and forced to retreat, tribal leaders, residents and a war monitor said on Monday.
Fighters from Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria who joined forces with Popular Resistance Units from Iraq crossing the border into Syria were taken by surprise by militants hiding inside tunnels in the heart of the city they said they had taken on Wednesday, they said.
People gather around a leveled building in the town of Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday following a 7.3-magnitude quake that hit the Iraq-Iran border area on Sunday. (AFP)