In a report it titled “Syria/Russia: Strategy Targeted Civilian Infrastructure“, HRW accuses the Assad regime and Russia of war crimes against humanity during an air bombing campaign on Idlib, the last rebel bastion in northwest Syria. The video below shows the devastating impact of both Assad and Putin on civilian lives in Idlib.
The global rights group said it investigated dozens of “unlawful” air and ground strikes on civilian targets in the region around the city of Idlib. The investigation covered April 2019 to March 2020. During that period, the campaigns killed hundreds of civilians and displaced over 1.4 million people.
HRW said its 167-page report, “Targeting Life in Idlib” used hundreds of photos and satellite imagery as well as flight spotter logs to examine 46 bombing incidents. The number represents a small fraction of the air strikes and shelling that took place.
The attacks involved repeated violations that were “apparent war crimes, and may amount to crimes against humanity”, the report said.
INCESSANT BOMBING OF HOSPITALS. SCHOOLS. AND MARKETS
Kenneth Roth, the organizations global head, told Reuters TV:
They hit hospitals, schools, markets, residential areas. Not just inadvertently, not while they were trying to target the so-called terrorist, but deliberately.
In discussing the aim of the campaigns of terror against civilians, Roth added:
[The aim} was to drive out civilians and make their lives unlivable in the hope that it then will be easier for Russian and Syrian armed forces to recapture the territory.
Moscow and Damascus deny accusations of indiscriminate bombing of civilians. Just as Stalin denied murdering 20 million Russians during his reign of terror.Of late, Vladimir Putin has been trying to rehabilitate Stalin’s image.
Idlib is home to three million people escaping the Assad violence and the nearly 10-year old conflict.
BOTH ASSAD AND PUTIN IGNORE HRW FINDINGS
HRW said it had received no response to a summary of findings and questions to the Syrian and Russian governments.
The campaign ended after a ceasefire last March between Turkey and Russia, which support opposing sides in the conflict.
The HRW report named 10 senior Russian and Syrian officials including Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin and their top military commanders who it said were “command responsible” and should be held responsible.
The ten mass murders HRW named in their report are:
- Bashar al-Assad
- Vladimir Putin
- Lt. Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayoub
- Maj. Gen. Ahmed Balloul
- General of the Russian Army Sergei Shoigu
- General of the Army Valery Gerasimov
- Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoy
- Col.-Gen. Sergei Vladimirovich Surovikin
- Col.-Gen. Andrei Nikolaevich Serdyukov
- Lt.-Gen. Alexander Yuryevich Chaiko.
In naming the ten mass murderers, Roth said:
It’s really only by following up and ensuring that these people who have overseen these war crimes, do not get away with impunity, that there are consequences for pursuing this war crime strategy.
Reuters contributed to this article.
HRW Accuses the Assad Regime and Russia of War Crimes