32 Civilians Killed, Including 19 Children in Salqin City
SNHR has released a report entitled: “Russian Forces Perpetrated a Huge Massacre on the Day of Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack” which documents a massacre in Salqin city, Idlib on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
The report draws upon a number of accounts from city residents, eyewitnesses, and survivors, where the report contains two accounts. Also, the report contains verified pictures and videos, which show the great destruction in the al Rawda Mosque and the adjacent residential building in the aftermath of the bombardment, in addition to pictures showing children victims.
According to the report, the targeted areas were civilian areas, as no military bases or weapon warehouses for armed opposition factions or extremist Islamic groups were found before or during the attack. Furthermore, Russian forces didn’t warn civilians prior to the attack as the international humanitarian law requires.
The report says that at approximately 13:30, fixed-wing warplanes we believe were Russian fired four missiles at al Rawda Mosque and a residential building (the former Awqaf building) which is adjacent to the mosque in al Gharbi neighborhood, Salqin city. The bombardment resulted in the killing of 32 civilians, including 19 children and eight women (adult female). Most of the victims were IDPs from Deir Ez-Zour city. Additionally, the bombing heavily destroyed the nearby shops and residential houses and damaged Mustafa al Sayyed Ahmad School “The Rural School”.
The report stresses that the Russian regime has, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254 which both state that indiscriminate attacks must be halted. Also, they violated Article 8 of Rome Statute through the act of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.
Furthermore, the repot asserts that the bombardment mentioned in this report has targeted armless civilians. Therefore, Russian forces have violated the rules of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. Additionally, these violations were perpetrated in a non-international armed conflict which amount to a war crime where all elements were fulfilled.
In addition, the report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps as Resolution 2139 has been adopted and no pledges to cease the indiscriminate bombardment operations have been made. All the parties to the conflict must respect the Resolutions and adhere to the rules of the international humanitarian law.
Also, the report emphasizes that the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism that was established in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 248/71 that was adopted on December 21, 2016 must be supported, local tribunals that enjoy a universal jurisdiction should be established, and the war crimes that have been committed in Syria must be prosecuted.
The report says that the Syrian case must be referred to the International Criminal Court, those who were involved must be held accountable, and the norm of the Responsibility to Protect have to be implemented in order to save the Syrian lives, culture, and art from being destroyed, stolen, and ruined. Lastly, the sanctions must be expanded to include the pillars of the Syrian and Iranian regimes who are directly involved in committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.