Many war crimes, and crimes against humanity, were committed in the province of Idleb, the last bastion of insurgent in the north-west of Syria that are subject to an attack from the regime in late 2019 and early 2020, according to a report released Tuesday by the united nations.
“Children have been bombarded in school, parents have been bombarded in the market, patients have been bombarded in the hospital, and entire families were bombed while they were fleeing”, a summary Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the Commission of inquiry of the UN on Syria.
His report covers the period 1 November to 30 April and documents 52 attacks based on almost 300 interviews and photographic equipment and video.
The syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, supported by its ally the Russian, was re-launched in December 2019 its offensive against Idleb, the last bastion in the hands of rebel groups and jihadists, before a truce precarious sponsored by Russia and Turkey enters into force at the beginning of march. The offensive has made a million people displaced and more than 500 civilian deaths, according to the UN.
“During this military campaign, the pro-government forces and groups designated by the UN as terrorists have violated flagrantly the laws of war and the rights of civilians of syria”, according to Mr Pinheiro, who is quoted in the report.
According to the commission, Pinheiro, between 1 November and 30 April, 17 medical facilities, 14 schools, 9 markets and 12 houses have been bombarded, in the overwhelming majority of cases by the pro-government forces and their ally russia.
Some of these “bombing indiscriminate”, especially on Maaret al-Noomane in the province of Idleb and in Atarib (east of Aleppo) in December and February, “could be constitutive of a crime against humanity”, according to the report.
The commission Pinheiro is also focusing on the abuses of the main group of jihadist in the region, Hayat al-Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), accused of “looting, detention, torture and execution of civilians, including journalists”.
HTS also has “bombed indiscriminately from densely populated areas, spreading terror among civilians living in areas under government control,” according to the report.
“Women, men and children that we interviewed had the choice between being bombed or flee further into the areas controlled by HTS where human rights are violated and where the humanitarian assistance is very limited,” according to the investigator Karen Koning AbuZayd.