For the First Time, the International Coalition Forces Commit more Massacres than any other Party
SNHR has published its monthly report documenting the massacres perpetrated by the parties to the conflict for the month of March.
The report outlines the toll of the massacres perpetrated in March 2017, where the report describes an incident as a massacre if it involved the killing of five peaceful individuals at the same time. Based on this definition, the report documents 35 massacres in March 2017 – 11 at the hands of Syrian regime forces, 8 by Russian forces and 13 by the international coalition forces, 2 by ISIS, and 1 by other parties.
According to the report, Syrian regime forces committed 5 massacres in Idlib, 2 in Deir Ez-Zour, 2 in Hama, and 2 in Damascus suburbs. Russian forces committed 6 massacres in Idlib, 1 in Aleppo, and 1 in al Raqqa. Furthermore, international coalition forces committed 12 massacres in al Raqqa and 1 in Aleppo. In addition, the report records 1 massacre by other parties in Damascus.
According to SNHR’s victim documentation team, 422 individuals were killed in these massacres including 149 children and 70 women (Adult female) which suggests that 52% of the victims were women and children. This considerably high percentage is an indication that civilians were targeted in most of these massacres.
The report breaks down the death toll of the massacres of March where Syrian regime forces killed 88 individuals including 34 children and 19 women. Furthermore, 77 individuals including 33 children and 20 women were killed in the massacres that were perpetrated by Russian forces, while 214 individuals were killed in the international coalition forces’ massacres including 72 children and 28 women. On the other hand, 10 civilians were killed in the massacre perpetrated by ISIS including 8 children and 1 woman. Lastly, 33 individuals, including 2 children and 2 women, were killed in the massacre perpetrated by other parties.
The report stresses that the bombing incidents, whether it was deliberate or indiscriminate, targeted armless civilians, thus, The Syrian-Russian alliance forces have violated the rules 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.
Moreover, these attacks, especially bombing, have resulted in collateral damages 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 couldn’t confirm that there were 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 to 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 as well as the Independent International 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 Iranian militias, the Lebanese group 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 which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, in Syria as it is direly needed there.