SNHR has published a report on the violations that were committed during the evacuation operations of Eastern Aleppo’s neighborhoods. The report was entitled: “Government Forces and the Fighting Shiite Militias Breach Aleppo Agreement Multiple Times”
According to the report, on Tuesday 13 December 2016 approximately at 18:00, the Russian regime, in coordination with the Turkish regime, announced a ceasefire agreement inside the neighborhoods of Aleppo city that are under the control of armed opposition factions. The agreement stated that civilians, wounded, and gunmen will be evacuated via Al Ramousa crossing to Uqdat Al Raqqa area and then to the western suburbs of Aleppo at 5:00 AM on Wednesday 14 December.
The report focuses on the main breaches that occurred during the civilian evacuation operation and were perpetrated by the Syrian regime forces and the pro-government militias on Thursday 15 December and Friday 16 December which halted the evacuation operation.
The report reads that the Iranian regime, through its Shiite militias (Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghani, and Chechen) in Syria, managed to halt the execution of the agreement as it was being carried out which was a cold slap to the authority of the Russian state, who is supposedly an ally to the Iranian regime. This shows that Russia, even though it has the final say, is not alone, which seriously questions the mechanisms that would insure the execution of a complete political process when a simple evacuation, compared to a comprehensive settlement process, has been impeded in this blatant manner.
The report relies on the direct interviews with survivors and local media activists in addition to reviewing the pictures and videos we obtained.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, adds:
“What happened proves that the foreign militias that came to Syria, which were brought by the Syrian and Iranian regime on one hand and by Al Qaeda on the other hand even though there are hardly any differences between the two, are one of the greatest risks that can compromise any peace agreement, truce, or political settlements. Both of these militias are extremist, fundamentalist, globalized, cross-borders militias. However, we never see any political condemnation that addresses the role of the extremist Shiite militias in impeding the agreement and causing tens of crimes compared to the scenario that would have been, had Al Qaeda played the same role.”
The report notes that the agreement to evacuate civilians resulted in the transport of 11,400 individuals including about 350 wounded with the convoys that left Aleppo neighborhoods. However, there are about 40,000 people trapped there. The evacuation processes involved a number of incidents of attack and breaches by the Syrian regime forces and the pro-government militias. This report highlights two incidents; the first of which was the convoy being shot at, which injured five people. The second incident documented by the report was the Syrian regime and the pro-government militias stopping and detaining a convoy of 750 individuals before it arrived at Uqdat Al Raqqa area where the detainees were forced to lay down on the ground and take off their clothes as they were humiliated and degraded. Also, the checkpoint looted their money, personal belongings, and papers before shooting some of them which resulted in the killing of three individuals including one armed opposition gunman while two women were abducted before the convoy was let go after five hours of detention and after arresting a number of individuals who were with the convoy.
The report stresses that the United Nations was late in taking any effective or serious steps and seemed like that it has no role in front of the residents of Eastern Aleppo, and the Syrian society in general, and the Early Warning system was no use.
The report emphasizes that every possible effort must be made to insure the security and safety of the forcibly-displaced and sieged people. Also, the evacuation operations must be monitored and the parties that violate the operation must be documented.
The report calls for the friend states of the Syrian people to provide every assistance available as the Syrian people would not be able alone to take this immensely huge number of displaced people who are psychologically, socially, and economically affected.