Despite Ankara Ceasefire Agreement, 79 Vital Civilian Facilities were Attacked in January 2017

62 at the Hands of the Syrian-Russian Regime

Vital Civilian Facilities

SNHR has published its special periodic report on attacks against vital civil facilities by the conflict parties in Syria.
The report notes that since Ankara Ceasefire Agreement went into effect in Syria, bombardment and warplanes’ airstrikes (by Syrian regime and Russian forces) rates have declined, and subsequently, the targeting of vital civilian facilities. This was a positive development that should be supported and built upon. However, the report adds, Syrian regime is still the main perpetrator of various kinds of breaches including bombing, killing, arrest, and others.
 
The report documents the incidents of attack on vital civil facilities in January where no less than 79 attacks against vital civil facilities were recorded as follows: 44 incidents by Syrian regime forces, 18 by Russian forces, 1 by armed opposition factions, 7 by international coalition forces, and 1 by ISIS in addition to 8 incidents that the report wasn’t able to identify the group responsible for them.
 
The report breaks down the facilities that have been targeted in January as follows: 32 Infrastructures, 19 vital educational facilities, 16 places of worship, 6 vital medical facilities, 4 communal facilities, 2 vital cultural facilities.
According to the report, the percentage of vital civilian facilities that are located in ISIS-held areas and were targeted by Syrian regime forces is 23% of the total number of vital civilian facilities targeted by the Syrian regime forces.
 
Furthermore, the report notes that the documented attacks were only the minimum of the actual magnitude of crimes in light of the many practical difficulties during the documentation process.
The report affirms that investigations conducted by SNHR show that there were no military centers before or during these attacks. Syrian regime forces and the other perpetrators of these crimes must justify their actions before the United Nations and the Security Council.
 
According to the report, the international humanitarian law considers indiscriminate, deliberate, or disproportionate attacks as unlawful attacks. Syrian regime forces’ attacks against schools, hospitals, churches, and bakeries is an utter disregard for the most basic standards of the international humanitarian law and the Security Council Resolution.
 
The report also notes that Russian forces, armed opposition factions, ISIS, international coalition forces, and other parties (Includes groups that we weren’t able to identify and the Turkish, Lebanese, and Jordanian forces) have attacked some of these facilities. The indiscriminate random bombardment is a violation of the international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime.
 
The report calls on the Security Council to bind all parties, especially Syrian regime forces considering that it is the main perpetrator of most of these violations, to implement Resolution 2139 and, at least, condemn the targeting of vital civil centers that are indispensable for the lives of civilians.
Finally, the report calls on the states that support the armed opposition to cease their support for the factions that didn’t respect the international humanitarian law.

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