[26 January] The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) today released a new report, Rain of Fire, documenting 78 cases of incendiary weapons use by Russian forces in Syria, in direct violation of international humanitarian law. The nature and extent of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s conflict is further evidence that Russia cannot serve as a neutral monitor or enforcer of Syria’s ceasefire—a role best reserved for the United Nations.
“Russia is a proven party to the Syrian conflict. Russia cannot be trusted to objectively monitor and enforce Syria’s ceasefire,” SNHR Chairman, Fadel Abdul Ghany, warned. “If Russia is committed to making the ceasefire succeed, then it must agree to an independent and impartial monitoring mechanism, led by the United Nations with independent monitors on the ground – anything less only risks condemning the ceasefire to failure.”
“Syrians are desperate for the current ceasefire to hold, so that a political solution may emerge. But as we have seen repeatedly in past ceasefires, an end to the violence will only take place when the ceasefire is independently, impartially monitored and rigorously enforced. The failure to impose consequences for violations of past ceasefires has cost Syrian lives and thrown previous peace talks into disarray. Syrians cannot afford a repetition of these mistakes.”