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The Syrian Network for Human Rights has notified the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the case of the college student, Abdullah Mazen al Su’oud, from Ma’aret al Numan city in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate, born in 1989, who was arrested on February 21, 2012, by Syrian Regime forces while he was passing through a checkpoint known as “Al Ahram Gas Station Checkpoint” on the Damascus-Aleppo International Road. He was seen in March 2014, in Sydnaya Military Prison, in the section known as the ‘red building’, in Damascus Suburbs governorate. On April 7, 2019, his family received his death certificate following a visit to the civil registry department in Hama city by a close friend of theirs. According to the death certificate, he died on April 15, 2014
 
As is the norm in all such cases, Syrian authorities have not confessed to killing Abdullah, and registered his death at the civil register without the knowledge of his family, while his family has been unable to submit any complaint about his death for fear of being persecuted by the regime security services for doing so, because of their presence in an area under the control of Syrian Regime forces.
 

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The post The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of College Student Abdullah Mazen al Su’oud Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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The International Commission of Inquiry and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Are Responsible for Identifying the Perpetrators of Attacks

In its latest report released today, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) calls on the United Nations to reveal the medical facilities that have been targeted which were listed in the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism, attributing responsibility to both the International Commission of Inquiry and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for identifying the perpetrators of the attacks.
 
The 16-page report states that the Syrian regime and its allies have relentlessly and calculatingly targeted medical centers and their personnel in order to inflict the greatest possible amount of terror and pain on Syrian society by targeting essential facilities that are indispensable to normal life. As the report points out, the Syrian and Russian regimes have continued to bomb hospitals, encouraged by the lack of any meaningful reaction from the international community to such criminal acts, which constitute repeated and systemic war crimes.
 
The report notes that all those involved in the popular uprising in Syria and later relief organizations in the areas outside the control of the Syrian regime and its allies have exerted exceptional efforts to protect medical facilities, resorting to various strategies such as the use of basements in buildings, often reinforced with sand berms, the use of early warning systems, even up to using caves in mountainous areas as medical facilities. All these attempts were ultimately unsuccessful due to details of these facilities’ locations being passed to the Syrian regime and its Russian ally by informers or through their being identified by reconnaissance planes that allowed the Syrian regime and its Russian ally to locate and target them. According to the report, these medical facilities were targeted using guided missiles. Many medical facilities have been bombed repeatedly on different occasions, while ambulances and roads which they were expected to use have also been targeted.
 
This report highlights the usefulness or otherwise of the United Nations humanitarian deconfliction mechanism, criticizing its limited impact on the protection of medical facilities. The report also highlights the most notable attacks on medical facilities whose coordinates were shared with the mechanism, noting that all the attacks documented in the report were carried out by Syrian-Russian alliance forces, whilst the SNHR has not recorded any attacks by International Coalition forces on medical facilities listed in the mechanism.
 
The report also notes that it could not determine the number of medical facilities whose coordinates were shared with the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism because the mechanism has no website or other source that can be relied on to provide these statistics; however, the report was able to monitor several medical organizations that had shared the coordinates of the medical facilities they support which were subsequently subjected to numerous attacks, adding that all information related to the statistics on the medical facilities listed in the mechanism was obtained through statements by officials of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
 
The report reveals that the same humanitarian deconfliction mechanism has been implemented in other nations that saw armed conflicts, such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Mali, where it achieved significant successes, with thousands of medical facilities deconflicted and thus protected from attacks and bombings. In Syria, however, Russia and the Syrian regime have placed themselves above the law and constantly violated several rules of customary law and UN Security Council resolutions. As the report notes, the Syrian, Russian and Iranian regimes have consistently behaved like rogue regimes in Syria, with no-one apparently able or willing to stop their overt and flagrant violations, which have allowed them to effectively disregard and triumph over international law.
 
The report also reveals that there is a sense of intense frustration and total despair at the lack of any protection for medical facilities in Syria by the international community, despite such protection supposedly being guaranteed under international law, adding that this has prompted some organizations to try to test coordination and work with the UN humanitarian deconfliction mechanism in the hope that this might succeed in deconflicting some medical facilities or at least clearly expose the perpetrators of these bombings which constitute war crimes. Details of between 20 percent and 50 percent of the total medical facilities were shared with the mechanism, with these organizations sharing only details of easily identified medical facilities which the Syrian and Russian regimes could locate easily otherwise by use of reconnaissance planes or local informants.
 
The report stresses that, while it can’t determine with total certainty that the sharing of the coordinates for these medical facilities with Russian forces facilitated their being bombed, the record of Russia’s criminal regime in Syria indicates that it will not hesitate to use these coordinates and take advantage of them to bomb these medical facilities and even to share them with the Syrian regime.
 
The report asserts that there is no benefit in sharing the coordinates of these facilities with the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism and indeed that doing so may be considered an actively harmful step since it further facilitates the possible risk of the Russian and Syrian regimes being given the coordinates of these medical facilities. This is particularly dangerous since this data is shared by the Office of Humanitarian Affairs in Turkey with the Office of Humanitarian Affairs in Damascus, which may be put under pressure and blackmail by the Syrian regime, infamous for its continuous looting of humanitarian relief funds and for using these monies to benefit the regime rather than for any humanitarian purposes, noting that that following the bombing of any medical facility listed with the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism, it is imperative the mechanism should at the very least confirm that the facility in question was bombed, and should perhaps later help to determine more accurately who was responsible for these attacks, or should provide the Independent International Commission of Inquiry and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with the data and evidence in their possession in order to identify and expose the party responsible for bombing those medical facilities.
 
The report documents 17 attacks on facilities listed in the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism carried out by Syrian-Russian alliance forces between September 2014 and July 12, 2019. These incidents targeted nine medical facilities, most of which occurred in 2018 and 2019. The report notes that of the 17 attacks, nine occurred during the recent military campaign against the Idlib de-escalation zone between April 26, and July 12, 2019.
 
The report stresses that the Syrian and Russian regimes continue to bomb medical facilities using their air forces, which no one else has in that region, with the deliberate bombing of medical facilities constituting a war crime, noting that the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism has not contributed to the protection of medical facilities in the Syrian conflict; rather, it may have provided access for the Russian or Syrian regimes to the data provided by Syrian medical organizations on these facilities.
 
The report reveals that the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism did not publicly request any investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Commission of Inquiry into the bombings of facilities listed in the mechanism, because the failure to publicly expose the perpetrators of the bombing of medical facilities and personnel has contributed significantly to the perpetrators’ confidence in repeating these crimes blatantly and with apparent impunity.
 
The report stresses that the incidents included are unquestionably breaches of UN Security Council resolutions 2139, 2254 and 2286, noting that most of the attacks included targeting of unarmed civilians, and therefore, the perpetrators have violated International Human Rights Law. In addition, these crimes were committed in a non-international armed conflict, meaning that these attacks this amount to and possesse all the constituent elements of a war crime.
The report calls on the Security Council to take extra steps after issuing Resolutions number 2139 and 2254, to refer the Syrian file to the International Criminal Court, and to hold all those responsible for related crimes accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven.
 
The report also calls on the Security Council to reevaluate the level of risk of violations of human rights and its threat levels to international and regional peace and security, and to revert to Article Seven to protect humanitarian workers and facilities in Syria, to no longer classify the Syrian government as a legitimate official party in regard to any relief efforts after its perpetration of crimes against humanity, and to ensure that it is no longer supplied with large amounts of financial or any other relief, which largely fails to reach the intended beneficiaries, instead being given to the loyalists of the Syrian government.
 
The report urges the International Community to prepare for political, economic and military intervention to protect civilians in Syria and to protect medical facilities through an alliance outside the Security Council, following its repeated failure in Syria and the continuation of perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Syrian regime and its allies.
The report also calls on the United Nations to take steps under Chapter VII of its own Charter, while the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, should be implemented. The Security Council is still actively obstructing the protection of civilians in Syria.
 
The report recommends that the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism should create a website containing a complete database of all facilities listed in the mechanism, with reference to the facilities that were targeted, even without specifying who is responsible for the bombing; this will help investigators in United Nations organs and relevant and specialized international and local organizations to cross-check this information with their database, so they can identify those responsible for the bombing.
 
The report calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) to clearly identify the perpetrators of violations and specifically those attacks perpetrated by Russian forces, noting that there is a great absence of any attribution of direct responsibility to Russian forces in recent reports.
 
The report further recommends that the OHCHR should issue reports and statements that clearly condemn the targeting of medical facilities that have recently occurred and identify the perpetrators, avoiding following the path pursued by the completely politicized Security Council, and should request from the humanitarian deconfliction mechanism all the data it possesses on the medical facilities listed in it.
 
The report calls on the Syrian regime to cease shelling of hospitals, protected objects and civilian areas, to respect customary humanitarian law, to bear all legal and material consequences, and to compensate the victims and their families from the resources of the Syrian state.
 
The report also calls on Russian forces to launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, to make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, to hold those responsible accountable, to compensate, rebuild and reequip all damaged centers and facilities, and to compensate all families of the wounded and the victims killed by the current Russian regime, to completely cease the bombardment of hospitals and protected objects, and to respect customary humanitarian law.
 

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The post The United Nations Should Reveal the Medical Facilities That Have Been Targeted Which Were Listed in the Humanitarian Deconfliction Mechanism appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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Documenting the Deaths of 229 Syrian Civil Defense Members Since Its Establishment in March 2013 to Date

In its latest report released today, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) reveals that Syrian-Russian alliance forces have targeted 31 Civil Defense vital facilities in the fourth de-escalation zone within an 11-week period, noting the deaths of 229 Syrian Civil Defense members to date since the organization’s establishment in March 2013.
 
The 26-page report notes that the targeting of relief activities and their pillars is a recurring pattern of behavior by the Syrian regime and its allies used to inflict the most severe suffering among civilians to force them to capitulate and surrender through targeting those who offer them relief, aid and treatment services.
 
The report points out that the distinction between civilians and combatants and the protection of all those not taking part in hostilities constitutes the essence of international humanitarian law applicable in the case of armed conflicts, with many of its articles calling for the protection of medical personnel assisting civilians and the wounded following attacks, and for respecting them as neutral individuals helping the sick and wounded without discrimination. Amongst these articles of legislation, the report notes, is the first Geneva Convention, which states in Article 24 that medical personnel exclusively engaged in the search for, or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded or sick, or in the prevention of disease, staff exclusively engaged in the administration of medical units and establishments, as well as chaplains attached to the armed forces, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. The first Additional Protocol, in Chapter VI, also defines the meaning of civil defense and, in Article 62, provides for the protection of civil defense personnel. Also, the report points out, under Rule 109 of customary humanitarian law, each party to the conflict has to take all possible measures to search for, collect and evacuate the wounded, sick and shipwrecked. This includes permitting humanitarian organizations to assist in their search and collection.
 
Fadel Abdul Ghany, the Chairman of the SNHR, adds:
“The tasks carried out by the Syrian Civil Defense teams (White Helmets) are diametrically opposed to the strategy of the Syrian regime and Russia of inflicting as much pain and fear in the community as possible. This is primarily why its equipment, headquarters and personnel have been subjected to deliberate shelling. Its reputation was also distorted by an attempt to link it to extremist organizations. All those who kill and target those who assist and aid civilians must be condemned and exposed. ”
 
The report provides some background on the Civil Defense organization, explaining that it was established in March 2013, with the current number of Civil Defense volunteers standing at nearly 2,393, of whom 201 are female volunteers. The report adds that the duties of the Syrian Civil Defense organization aren’t limited to operations of ambulance, rescue, and the recovery of bodies from under the rubble, but also extend to helping with the evacuation of civilians from areas under bombardment, the provision of housing and shelters for these displaced people, and responding to the requirements in their camp areas. The Civil Defense teams also contribute effectively to the removal of rubble and debris, and firefighting, identifying and marking hazardous areas, removing unexploded ordnance, delivering water and repairing electricity networks damaged as a result of the shelling. In addition to providing all these services, the Civil Defense members, especially women, monitor the situation of the wounded and provide first aid and care for children and pregnant women, and raise awareness, as well as filming the rescue operations and the remnants of weapons used, and recounting the details of bombing incidents.
Accordingly, the report notes that it may be considered that attacking the Civil Defense teams constitutes a violation of both the Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 17, 23, 59; Protocol (I), Article 70; Protocol (II), Article 18-2), and Rule 55 and Rule 56 of Customary Humanitarian Law.
 
The report details the exceptional challenges facing the Civil Defense teams in Syria, most notably the ‘double tap strike’ tactic, which is based on bombing sites that were bombed a short time before as the ambulances and rescue workers rush to rescue the survivors; this grotesque tactic is deployed calculatingly in order to not only inflict the greatest possible loss of civilian lives, but also to harm the greatest possible number of rescue workers and medics and their equipment, in addition to the bombing of roads used by paramedics and civil defense teams in the aftermath of the bombing by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces in order to obstruct their work in rescuing the survivors of bombings. The report points out that the widespread use of cluster and incendiary munitions constitutes a double burden on civil defense teams, noting also the defamation used by the Syrian and Russian regime’s media machine to spread disinformation and slander, in parallel with launching numerous media campaigns and false news reports smearing the Syrian Civil Defense organization with ludicrous and offensive accusations, slanderously linking them to al Qaeda on the one hand and with Western governments and intelligence agencies on the other, as well as accusing them of preparing chemical attacks and counterfeiting rescue operations, staging false massacres for photo opportunities, and other vile charges without providing any credible evidence to substantiate these defamatory claims.
 
This report includes the record of the most notable violations against the Civil Defense Organization by the main parties to the conflict in Syria from the establishment of the Civil Defense Organization in March 2013 up until July 12, 2019. The report also highlights the most notable attacks carried out by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces against the Civil Defense Organization in the fourth and final de-escalation zone (consisting of Idlib governorate and parts of the governorates of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia), which took place during the recent military campaign against the region between April 26, and July 12, 2019.
 
As the report states, for eight years, the Syrian regime has committed grave crimes and violations against Syrian civilians. It has also consistently failed to respond to any of the demands of the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, or to those of the High Commission for Human Rights, or even to Security Council resolutions. The Security Council, which was supposed to take collective measures and action under Article 41 and 42 of the Charter of the United Nations, also failed because of the immunity granted by Russia to the Syrian regime, with Russia routinely using its veto in the case of the Syrian regime, which not only failed to abide by the responsibility for the protection of civilians, but committed the most egregious violations against them, reaching the level of crimes against humanity, and extermination within detention centers through torture.
 
Furthermore, according to the report, the conscience-shocking situations which the UN is required to take action to prevent are exactly what have continued to happen in Syria, not only in the form of one massacre or one violation but in industrial-scale, continuous killings and torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs, and besieging civilians, quoting from a report issued in December 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which stressed that: “The Security Council should take into account in all its deliberations that, if it fails to discharge its responsibility to protect in conscience-shocking situations crying out for action, concerned states may not rule out other means to meet the gravity and urgency of that situation. ”
 
The report documents the deaths of at least 229 Civil Defense personnel at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria between March 2013 and July 12, 2019, of which the Syrian regime killed 159, Russian forces killed 38, ISIS killed three, Syrian Democratic Forces killed one, and other parties killed 28.
 
The report also documents at least 396 attacks on Civil Defense vital facilities in Syria at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict during the same period, of which 277 were at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, 102 at the hands of Russian forces, one at the hands of factions of the Armed Opposition, and 16 at the hands of other parties.
 
During the recent military campaign by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces against the Idlib region since April 26, up until July 12, 2019, the report has documented the deaths of four Civil Defense personnel, all at the hands of Russian forces, and the injury of at least 22 others with varying injuries, noting that the Syrian-Russian alliance forces attacked at least 31 Syrian Civil Defense vital facilities (centers and vehicles), during the same period, with 15 of these attacks at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, and the other 16 at the hands of Russian forces.
 
The report stresses that the incidents included are unquestionably breaches of UN Security Council resolutions 2139, 2254 and 2286, noting that most of the attacks included targeting of unarmed civilians, and therefore, the perpetrators have violated International Human Rights Law. In addition, these crimes were committed in a non-international armed conflict, meaning that these attacks constitute war crimes.
 
The report also stresses that deliberate attacks against medical facilities, medical personnel, clearly identified individuals and facilities marked by emblems protected by the Geneva Conventions, and those working in the humanitarian field or with peacekeeping groups, constitute war crimes, and it is part of the International Criminal Court’s duties to hold the perpetrators accountable, according to Article 8 of the court’s charter, as well as constituting a breach of the rules 31, 32, 45, 55, 56 of the International Customary Humanitarian Law.
 
The report calls on the Security Council to take extra steps after issuing Resolutions number 2139 and 2254, to refer the Syrian file to the International Criminal Court, and to hold all those responsible for related crimes accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven.
The report also calls on the Security Council to reevaluate the level of risk of violations of human rights and its threat levels to international and regional peace and security, and to revert to Article Seven to protect humanitarian workers and facilities in Syria, to no longer classify the Syrian government as a legitimate official party in regard to any relief efforts, and to ensure that it is no longer supplied with large amounts of financial or any other relief, which mostly fails to reach those who desperately need and deserve this aid.
 
The report urges the International Community to take action at both national and regional levels to form alliances to support the Syrian people in a way that can protect them from the daily killings, and to increase support for relief efforts.
The report also calls on the United Nations to take steps under Chapter VII of its own Charter, while the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, should be implemented. The Security Council is still actively obstructing the protection of civilians in Syria.
 
The report recommends that the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) and International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) should launch investigations into the cases included in the report, and confirms the SNHR’s willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data.
 
The report urges the European Union and United States of America to support the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) established in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 248/71 issued on December 21, 2016, and to open local state courts that operate according to the principle of international justice in order to pursue justice for the victims of war crimes perpetrated in Syria.
 
The report also calls on Russian forces to launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, to make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, to hold those responsible accountable, to compensate, rebuild and reequip all damaged centers and facilities, and to compensate all families of the wounded and the victims killed by the current Russian regime, to completely cease the bombardment of hospitals and protected objects, and to respect customary humanitarian law.
 
Finally, the report calls on all humanitarian organizations working in Syria to make no distinction between help and protection, and to report all violations they suffer during their work.
 

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The post Syrian-Russian Alliance Forces Target 31 Civil Defense Vital Facilities in the Fourth De-Escalation Zone in 11 Weeks appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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606 Civilians, including 157 Children, Were Killed at the Hands of Syrian-Russian Alliance Forces

In its latest report, released today, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) asserts that the Security Council must act after 11 weeks of indiscriminate bombardment on Idlib governorate and its environs at the hands of Syrian-Russian alliance forces, in which 606 civilians, including 157 children, were killed.
 
The 23-page report reveals that Russia has applied the same techniques since the Syrian regime took control of the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo in December 2016, using on many occasions heavy and indiscriminate aerial bombardment, and on some occasions focused deliberate bombardment, of civilian neighborhoods, as well as continuing its blatant violations of the laws of war, encouraged by international silence or only the most feeble condemnation, with these strategies resulting after many days or months in gaining land and displacing civilians.
 
The report stresses that applying this technique has enabled the Syrian regime to control the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, then the Eastern Ghouta and the Syrian south. However, as the report details, the latest attack on Idlib governorate, the northern suburbs of Hama and the southwestern suburbs of Aleppo is characterized, compared to other areas, by the existence of a large population density of about three million Syrians, since most of the people in formerly liberated areas which are now controlled by the Syrian regime fled there. Also, Hay’at Tahrir al Sham’s seizing control of areas of Idlib governorate has undoubtedly increased the suffering of civilians since most of the civil society organizations there have ceased their provision of assistance, while Hay’at Tahrir al Sham has inflicted extremist and authoritarian practices against the people.
 
The report reveals that the military campaign on the Idlib area has seen the Syrian regime again using barrel and chemical, in addition to the extensive use of cluster and incendiary munitions, which caused property damage and the burning of thousands of hectares of agricultural land.
 
The details in the report show that the Syrian-Russian alliance forces did not abide by the cease-fire agreement, which entered into forces on June 12, 2019, with the report noting that these forces have continued to carry out their attacks and expand the areas they targeted by air raids, with these attacks extending to the outskirts of Idlib city, Ma’aret Misreen town and Saraqeb city in the northern suburbs of Idlib, and areas in the western suburbs of Aleppo; most were concentrated in the areas of northern suburbs of Hama and the southern suburbs of Idlib.
 
The report notes that according to statistics published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 330,000 people were displaced from the Idlib area between May 1 and June 13, 2019. The report estimates that at least 85,000 of those displaced live in primitive tents in the open, spread over agricultural lands and lacking the minimum basic elements of life
 
The report focuses on events in the fourth and final de-escalation zone (consisting of Idlib governorate and parts of the governorates of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia) and outlines the record of the most notable human rights violations following the military escalation by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces in the region from April 26, 2019, to July 12, 2019, as well as the record of violations committed following the announcement by the Russian Government of an alleged cease-fire on June 12.
 
The report documents the deaths of 606 civilians, including 157 children, 111 women (adult female), and 27 massacres, between April 26, 2019, and July 12, 2019, of whom the Syrian regime killed 521, including 136 children and 97 women, and committed 23 massacres, while Russian forces killed another 85, including 21 children and 14 women, and committed four massacres. The report notes that at least eight medical personnel, including one woman, were killed at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, in addition to four Civil Defense personnel killed at the hands of Russian forces.
 
As the report reveals, these attacks resulted in at least 294 attacks on vital civilian facilities, including 87 on schools, 62 on places of worship, 43 on medical facilities, 30 on Civil Defense facilities (centers and vehicles), 10 on markets, and four on IDPs camps, 211 of which were at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while 73 attacks were at the hands of Russian forces.
 
The report notes that at least 17 cluster munitions attacks were documented during the same period, with 16 of these carried out at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while the other was carried out at the hands of Russian forces. In addition to these attacks, 16 attacks using incendiary weapons were carried out at the hands of Syrian Regime forces. The report adds that the Syrian Regime air force, using both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, dropped at least 1,710 barrel bombs on the fourth de-escalation zone during the same period.
 
The report monitors the most notable human rights violations between June 12, the date of the cease-fire agreement, and July 12. The report documents the death of 217 civilians, including 57 children and 32 women (adult female), 194 of whom were killed at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, including 54 children and 31, while Russian forces killed 23 civilians, including three children and one woman. The report also documents at least nine massacres since June 12, all committed at the hands of Syrian Regime forces. The report adds that at least four medical personnel, including one woman, were killed since June 12, all at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while three Civil Defense personnel were killed in the same period, all at the hands of Russian forces.
According to the report, at least 66 attacks were carried out on vital civilian facilities from June 12, 2019, to July 12, 2019, including 16 on schools, 13 on places of worship, nine on medical facilities; 52 of these attacks were carried out by Syrian Regime forces, while the other 14 were carried out by Russian forces.
 
The report notes that the Syrian regime carried out eight cluster munitions attacks, in addition to one incendiary weapons attack, adding that the Syrian Regime air force, using both fixed-wing warplanes and helicopters, dropped at least 285 barrel bombs during the same period.
The report stresses that Syrian and Russian forces have violated several rules of international humanitarian law, primarily through their failure to discriminate between civilians and combatants, between civilian and military targets, bombing hospitals, schools, centers and civilian neighborhoods, with these violations amount to war crimes.
The report also emphasizes that launching a deliberate attack on medical personnel in the context of a non-international armed conflict is a war crime punishable by international humanitarian law and international criminal law (Articles 8 (2) (b), 24, 8 (2) (e) (2) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court).
 
The report further notes that displacement or forced displacement is another war crime in non-international armed conflicts when committed as part of a deliberate or widespread attack against the civilian population (Articles 8 (2) (b) (7) and 8 (2) (e) (8) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court) and may also be considered crimes against humanity (Articles 7 (1) (d) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court).
The report notes that Syrian-Russian alliance forces have violated the de-escalation zone agreement in all regions, including the Idlib region, and violated the Sochi Agreement that came into force in September 2018. In addition, Syrian Regime forces have practiced the crime of displacement in a systematic, widespread and organized manner, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and amounts to a crime against humanity under Article VII of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We have not recorded any measures by these forces to provide shelter, health care or food to the displaced civilians.
 
The report calls on the UN Security Council to pass a resolution to stabilize the ceasefire in Idlib and to include punitive measures for all violators of the cease-fire, to genuinely support the serious implementation of the peace process in Syria and to assist in achieving a just political transition that guarantees security and stability, to refer the Syrian issue to the International Criminal Court, to ensure that all those involved in these crimes are held accountable, to pass a resolution concerning enforced displacement, to ensure that this does not become a long-term crisis, to put pressure on the Syrian regime to end displacements, and to enact laws aimed at preventing the plunder of displaced persons’ properties and possessions.
 
The report urges the International Community to take action at both national and regional levels to form alliances to support the Syrian people in a way that can protect them from the daily killings, to lift the sieges and to increase support for relief efforts. Additionally, it urges that the principle of universal jurisdiction should be applied in local courts regarding these crimes.
 
The report calls for the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, and to fulfil justice and achieve accountability in Syria through the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
The report recommends that the OHCHR should submit a report to the Human Rights Council and other organs of the United Nations concerning the violations committed by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces.
 
The report calls on the UN Secretary General to clearly identify the perpetrators of violations, explaining that doing so will contribute to condemning their actions, exposing their practices and sending a message of solidarity to the affected community, while failing to clearly identify the perpetrators of these apparent violations encourages these and other perpetrators to commit more violations and to repeat them.
The report calls on the countries that support the parties to the conflict in Syria, especially Russia, to put pressure on their allies on the ground to ensure the neutrality of the Idlib area of combat operations, and to protect the lives of at least three million people living there.
 
The report stresses that the UN Envoy to Syria must condemn the perpetrators of the crimes and massacres and the main culprits in the collapse of agreements on de-escalation zones, and thus declare the collapse and the end of the political process in full, as well as holding the Syrian-Russian alliance to account for its actions, and to disclose to the Syrian people Russia’s pursuit of full control of Syrian territory by force, and its public desire to rehabilitate the current regime, which means the creation of a political solution which satisfies only its own interests.
 
The report calls on the donor countries and the UNOCHR to ensure basic living conditions, to pay attention to the needs of and help provide care for thousands of displaced Syrians who are displaced in the north-western Idlib suburbs.
Finally, the report calls on the Russian forces to stop committing all types of war crimes in Syria, to commit to the outcome of the Sochi Summit and not repeat the scenario of violations we have seen in the agreements of de-escalation zone, to stop supporting the war crimes and crimes against humanity which the Syrian regime has been committing, with the current support being considered as direct involvement in these crimes, to contribute to the assistance of displaced persons who were displaced by the Russian war machine from the Eastern Ghouta in the Damascus Suburbs governorate and the governorates of Homs and Daraa, and to protect the residents of those areas who remained from the arrests, persecution, kidnappings and enforced disappearances being perpetrated by the Syrian Regime and the Iranian militias.
 

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The post Idlib Governorate and its Environs Have Been Under Indiscriminate Bombardment for 11 Weeks and the Security Council Doesn’t Act appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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The Syrian Network for Human Rights has notified the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the case of the citizen Abdul Karim Adel al Mbayyed, from al Sharqiya neighbourhood in Hama city, born in 1984, who was arrested with his two brothers, Walid and Ahmad, on August 22, 2011, by Syrian Regime forces’ Air Security Forces in a raid on their family’s house in al Sharqiya neighbourhood. On December 4, 2011, he was seen by his two brothers, who were released on the same date, in the Air Security Branch in al Qassa’ neighbourhood in Damascus city. On January 5, 2018, his family was informed by a relative, who is a lawyer, that Abdul Karim had been registered at the civil registry department in Hama city as having died on April 18, 2012.
 
As is the norm in all such cases, Syrian authorities have not confessed to killing Abdul Karim, while his family has been unable to submit any complaint about his death for fear of being persecuted by the regime security services for doing so.
 

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The post The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of Citizen Abdul Karim Adel al Mbayyed Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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Documentation of nearly 43 Cluster Munitions Attacks and 17 Incendiary Weapons Attacks by Syrian-Russian Alliance Forces in the Fourth De-Escalation Zone

The SNHR released its monthly special report today, which documents the human rights situation in Syria in the first half of 2019, outlining the most notable human rights violations at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria.
The 33-page report outlines the record of civilian victims documented in June and in the first half of 2019 who were killed by the main parties to the conflict, as well as the record of cases of arrests and enforced disappearance. The report also highlights indiscriminate attacks and the use of outlawed weapons (cluster munitions, chemical weapons, barrel bombs, incendiary weapons) and attacks on civilian objects.
 
The report includes records of these violations distributed according to each of the main perpetrator parties responsible. Accurately ascribing responsibility sometimes requires more time and investigation than usual, especially in the case of joint attacks. On some occasions, when we are unable to definitively assign responsibility for specific attacks to one particular party, as in the case of air strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes, Syrian-Iranian attacks, or attacks by Syrian Democratic Forces and International Coalition forces, we indicate that responsibility for these attacks is held jointly by the parties in question until we are able to likely establish which one of the parties was responsible, or it’s proved that the attack was a joint initiative carried out in coordination between the two parties.
 
The report draws upon the ongoing daily monitoring of news and developments, and on an extensive network of relations with various sources, in addition to analyzing a large number of photographs and videos.
 
The report documents in the first half of 2019 the deaths of 1,864 civilians, including 468 children and 285 women (adult female); this total includes 15 medical personnel, six media workers, and six members of the Civil Defense personnel, with the highest rate of killings being carried out at the hands of the Syrian-Russian alliance forces. It also documents the deaths of 159 individuals who died due to torture, and at least 59 massacres.
The report documents in June the deaths of 347 civilians, including 91 children and 39 women (adult female), as well as four medical personnel, two media workers, and two members of the Civil Defense personnel. It also documents the deaths of 18 individuals who died due to torture, and at least 12 massacres during the same period.
 
The report also documents in the first half of 2019 at least 2,460 cases of arbitrary arrests, including 117 children, 122 women (adult female), at the hands of the main perpetrator parties in Syria, with the largest number of these carried out by Syrian Regime forces in of Damascus Suburbs governorate, followed by the governorates of Aleppo and Damascus.
The report documents in June at least 336 cases of arbitrary arrests, including 14 children, 10 women (adult female), with the largest number of these carried out by Syrian Regime forces in Damascus Suburbs governorate, followed by Damascus governorate.
 
The report documents in the first half of 2019 at least 435 attacks on vital civilian facilities, 87 percent of which were carried out at the hands of the Syrian-Russian alliance forces, all in the fourth and final de-escalation zone (consisting of Idlib governorate and parts of the governorates of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia). Among these attacks, 115 were on schools, 56 were on medical facilities and 88 others were on places of worship
According to the report, at least 84 attacks on vital civilian facilities were recorded in June, of which 22 attacks were on schools, nine were on medical facilities and 20 others were on places of worship, with the highest rate of attacks being carried out at the hands of the Syrian-Russian alliance forces by carrying out 79 attacks, all of which were carried out in the fourth de-escalation zone
 
The report details the record of indiscriminate and outlawed attacks documented in the first half of 2019, where Syrian-Russian alliance forces carried out at least 43 cluster munitions attacks, all in the governorates of Idlib and Hama, 41 of which were carried out by Syrian Regime forces, most of which were carried out by artillery forces, and resulted in the deaths of 38 civilians, including eight children and eight woman (adult female), and injured 77 others. Nine of these attacks were took place in June, all in Idlib governorate at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, and resulted in the deaths of four civilians, including one woman, and injured four others.
The report also documents at least 17 incendiary weapons attacks, all of which were carried out by Syrian Regime forces in the first half of 2019, including seven attacks were documented in June. These attacks took place in populated areas away from frontlines.
 
The report documents in the first half of 2019 the Syrian Regime forces carrying out one attack using chemical weapons on May 19, which targeted a base used by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham on a hill in the southwestern outskirts of al Kbaina village in the suburbs of Latakia governorate.
 
The report documents in in the first half of 2019 at least 1,583 barrel bombs dropped by Syrian regime’s air force, fixed-wing and helicopters, all of which in the fourth de-escalation zone, which resulted in the deaths of 43 civilians, including seven children and 13 women, as well as damaging at least 28 vital civilian facilities.
The report also documents in June at least 622 barrel bombs, which resulted in the deaths of four civilians, including two children and one woman, as well as damaging one vital civilian facility.
 
The report reveals that the evidence we gathered indicates that attacks were directed against civilians and civilian objects. Syrian-Russian alliance forces committed various crimes of extrajudicial killings, arrest, torture, and enforced disappearance. In addition, the indiscriminate attacks they carried out caused the destruction of various facilities and other buildings. There are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crime of attacking civilians has been committed in many cases.
 
The report stresses that the Syrian government has violated international humanitarian law and customary law, and a number of UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 2139, resolution 2042 on the release of detainees, and resolution 2254, all without any accountability.
 
SNHR was unable to find any records of any warnings being issued by the Syrian Regime, or by Russian or International Coalition forces prior to any attack in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law. This has been the case since the beginning of the popular uprising in 2011, providing further blatant evidence of these forces’ total disregard for the lives of civilians in Syria.
 
According to the report, Islamist extremist groups carried out extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture. The report adds that the instances of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment carried out by the alliance of International Coalition forces and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are considered to be in clear violation of international humanitarian law, with indiscriminate killings amounting to war crimes.
 
The report calls on the UN Security Council to take additional steps following its adoption of Resolution 2254, and stresses the importance of referring the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court, adding that all those who are responsible should be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven.
The report also calls on the Security Council to adopt a resolution banning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, similar to the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and to include advice on how to safely remove the remnants of such dangerous weapons.
 
The report also requests that all relevant United Nations agencies make greater efforts to provide food, medical and humanitarian assistance in areas where fighting has ceased, and in internally displaced persons camps, and to follow up with those States that have pledged voluntary contributions.
 
The report calls for the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after all political channels have proved fruitless through all agreements, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and to implement the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.
 
The report calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations into the cases included in this report and previous reports, and confirms the SNHR’s willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data.
The report also calls on the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria to condemn the perpetrators of crimes and massacres and those who were primarily responsible for dooming the de-escalation agreements, to reschedule the peace process so that it can resume its natural course despite Russia’s attempts to divert and distort it, and to empower the Constitutional Commission prior to the establishment of a transitional government.
 
The report emphasizes that the Russian regime must launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, and hold the individuals involved accountable, and demands that the Russian regime, as a guarantor party in Astana talks, should stop thwarting de-escalation agreements, achieve a breakthrough in the issue of detainees by revealing the fate of those forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime, and stop using cluster munitions and incendiary weapons.
 
The report also stresses that the Syrian regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting of residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, and stop using prohibited munitions and barrel bombs, as well as ending the acts of torture that have caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian citizens in detention centers. The report adds that the Syrian Regime must also reveal the fate of 82,000 Syrian citizens previously arrested by the regime’s own security apparatus, whose fate it has concealed to date, and comply with UN Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law.
 
The report also calls on the International Coalition forces to acknowledge that some of their bombing operations have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, and demands that the coalition launch serious investigations, as well as compensating and apologizing to the victims and all those affected.
The report stresses that the states supporting the SDF should apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns under their control, adding that all forms of support, military and all others, should be ended.
 
The report also calls on the Armed Opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all areas under their control, and urges them to investigate incidents that have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as calling on them to take care to distinguish between civilians and military targets and to cease any indiscriminate attacks.
 
Lastly, the report stresses the need for international organizations to develop urgent operational plans to secure decent shelter for internally displaced persons.
 

View full Report

The post The Most Notable Human Rights Violations in Syria in the First Half of 2019 appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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