The Killing of 99 individuals and not less than 516 breaches since the ceasefire started
SNHR has released its 14th report documenting the breaches of the truce that commenced on Saturday, February 27. A total of 39 breaches were recorded, including 31 combat operations. Among them were 28 carried out by government forces while the remaining three were by Russian forces. Additionally, government forces carried out eight breaches through arrest operations. As such, the overall total of breaches since the truce started on February 27 is now 516.
The report documents the killing of two civilians by government forces while forces believed to be Russian killed an armed opposition fighter and nine civilians, including two children and three women.
The report sheds light on the uncertain future of the truce considering it has been sponsored by two states only, Russian and the United States. Russia, however, can’t play the role of a sponsor seeing how it is openly siding with one of the parties to the conflict, the Syrian regime, who was responsible for tens of breaches of Security Council Resolutions, including ones that were adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, but no actions have been taken against the Syrian regime.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, adds: ““The international community, represented by the UNSC, knows exactly what it should do to end this circle of violence, however, it resorts to unproductive solutions. We need a political transition that would transform the ruling to a democratic one. We have previously said that after Geneva 1, the bloodshed is not going to end and state administrations will be doomed to failure. ISIL and Iranian militias are filling the space the corrupted Syrian government left. We are with any agreement or resolution that would end the cycle of violence and massacres in Syria.”
The report notes that the most notable flaw in the truce statements is that it allows the Syrian regime, and its Russian partner, to target wide areas under the control of the Syrian opposition – particularly in the north (because of the heavily limited presence for al Nussra Front on the north front) under the pretext of al Nussra Front, al Qaeda’s extremist branch in Syria, without considering this a breach of the truce.
The report records the minimum of the violations in accordance with the standards and methodology adopted by SNHR team which requires two sources, who are unaware of each other, for each incident. Also, the report sheds light on every combat operations by the parties bound by the truce agreement (government forces, Russian forces, Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, and armed opposition factions) in the armed opposition-held areas and the areas under a joint control (armed opposition factions and al Nussra Front). The report doesn’t record combat operations in ISIS-held areas. In addition, the report records that no progress has been made regarding releasing detainees, including women and children, by any of the relevant parties while some areas are still under a sieged such as the northern suburbs of Homs city.
According to the report, breaches through combat operations were distributed across nearly all Syrian governorates as follows: four in Damascus suburbs, four in Latakia, nine in Hama, six in Idlib, two in Homs, three in Daraa at the hands of government forces while Russian forces were responsible for two in Aleppo and one in Latakia.
Breaches through arrest were distributed as follows: three in Damascus, two in Damascus suburbs, one in Latakia, one in Hama, and one in Homs.
The report calls on the Joint American-Russian Committee to investigate these incidents as soon as possible, make the findings of these investigations public to the Syrian people, and ensure that it don’t occur again.
Furthermore, the report stresses that the international community should link the ceasefire with a political process towards a transitional stage that leads to a democratic regime – an objective that would effectively end the suffering of the Syrian people.
Finally, the report notes that the truce might collapse at any moment if the breaches went on at their same rate without a real deterrent, adding that the United States, as a primary sponsor, should make a bigger effort to convince the Russian side to cease its breaches and apply pressure on its Syrian ally to cease its breaches as well.