Including 53 Massacres at the Hands of the Syrian and Russian Regimes
SNHR has published its periodic report on documenting the massacres that have been documented by the conflict parties in Syria.
The report sheds light on the massacres that were committed in August 2016 where the report describes an incident as a massacre if it involves the killing of five peaceful individuals at the same time. According to this definition, the report documents the occurrence of 62 massacres during August 2016 including 32 massacres at the hands of government forces, while 21 massacres were perpetrated by alleged Russian forces, whereas ISIS and armed opposition factions were responsible for four and three massacres respectively in addition to one massacre by Turkish forces. Also, the report records one massacre by unidentified groups.
According to the report, government forces perpetrated 11 massacres that took place in Idlib, nine in Aleppo, six in Damascus suburbs, two in Homs, and one in Deir Ez-Zour, Al Hasaka, Hama, and Al Raqqa while Russian forces were responsible for 12 massacres in Aleppo, six in Idlib, two in Deir Ez-Zour, and one in Al Raqqa. Additionally, ISIS perpetrated tow massacres in Deir Ez-Zour and Al Raqqa while armed opposition factions perpetrated three massacres in Aleppo and Turkish forces were responsible for one massacre Aleppo in addition to one massacre that took place in Al Hasaka where we couldn’t identify the perpetrator party.
The report notes that 547 individuals were killed in these massacres including 157 children and 70 women which suggest that 42% of the victims were women and children. This considerably high percentage indicates that civilian residents were targeted in most of these massacres.
The report breaks down the death toll of the massacre as 263 individuals, including 73 children and 36 women, were killed in the massacre perpetrated by government forces, 203 individuals, including 57 children and 21 women, were killed in the massacres perpetrated by Russian forces while the victims of the massacres perpetrated by ISIS were 21 individuals including five children and three women.
Furthermore, armed opposition factions killed 28 civilians including 10 children and four women while Turkish forces killed 24 civilians including six children and six women. Also, the report records the killing of eight individuals, including six children, at the hands of unidentified groups.
The report affirms that the bombing incidents, deliberate or indiscriminate, targeted armless civilians, thus, government forces and Russian forces have violated the articles of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. Furthermore, these violations were perpetrated during a non-international armed conflict which amount to war crimes as all elements of a war crime have been fulfilled.
Furthermore, these attacks, especially bombing, have resulted in collateral damage that involved casualties, injuries, and damages to civil facilities. There are strong indicators that prove that the damage was deeply severe compared to the estimated military benefit. In all of the cases, we didn’t find any military targets before or during these attacks.
Additionally, the magnitude of the massacres, its frequent pattern, the exaggerated use of strength, its military nature, the indiscriminate manner of the bombing, and the coordinated approach of these attacks must be based on high orders, and a state policy.
The report calls for referring the case in Syria the International Criminal Court and stop the disrupting of the decisions that must be adopted by the Security Council against the Syrian government. This disruption is a wrong message to all dictatorships around the world and supports the culture of crime. Also, immediate sanctions must be imposed on all individuals involved in widespread human rights violations.
Moreover, the report calls for binding the Syrian government to allow all relief and human rights organizations to enter Syria, in addition to the International Intendent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and journalists and let them work without any obstructions.
The report emphasizes that all militias that are fighting with the Syrian government and have committed widespread massacres such as Hezbollah, other Shiite brigades, National Defense Army, and “Shabiha”, must be listed on the international list of terrorist organizations.
Finally, the report calls for the implementation of “Responsibility to Protect” norm agreed to by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, in Syria as it is direly needed there.