329 Civilians Killed including 57 Children
SNHR said, in a report released today, that 329 civilians, including 57 children, were killed in Eastern Ghouta in the ten days that followed Security Council 2401.
The report notes that Resolution 2401 was unanimously adopted by the Security Council on the evening of February 24, 2018. However, it only took the Syrian regime and its allies merely a few hours to resume bombardment operations, and, as pointed by many cases, the bombardment rates and severity were higher compared to before the Security Council Resolution was adopted. The report adds that Russia chose to interpret the Resolution as it suits them and felt that a five-hour pause was enough from 09:00 until 14:00 every day even though the Resolution provided for a 30-day truce across all of Syria, allowing for humanitarian aids delivery. According to the report, the bombardment wasn’t ceased even during this hours. All of this constituted a heavy insult to the rest of the state member states of the Security Council.
According to the report, indicators of a severe shortage of food and scarcity of medical supplies in Eastern Ghouta pointing towards an imminent humanitarian catastrophe have surfaced after 17 days of the vicious offensive during which civilians had to live in shelters that lack the most basic of life needs, including 10 days after a Security Council Resolution that was supposedly should aid them was adopted.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, says:
“All of the states of the Security Council are aware that Russia was the one who doomed their Resolution, and that it is manipulating them based on a psychological unrest towards the west, and the people of Syria are paying the price for that. The Security Council needs to find a solution to stop the daily bloodbath as this is the Council’s responsibility and even if Russia was the one bearing the greatest political and moral iniquity, it remains everyone’s responsibility along with Russia.”
The report outlines the most notable violations by Syrian regime/Russian forces in the region of Eastern Ghouta from when Security Council Resolution 2401 was adopted on the evening of 24 February, 2018, until the evening of March 6, 2018, ranging from killings and targeting vital civilian facilities to the use of prohibited weapons.
According to the report, Syrian-Russian alliance forces have killed 329 civilians, including 57 children and 29 women (adult female).
The report also records that these forces carried out seven attacks on vital civilian facilities.
Additionally, the report notes that Syrian regime helicopters dropped approximately 81 barrel bombs in the period of time covered by the report, in addition to one attack using incendiary ammunitions.
The report stresses that Syrian-Iranian alliance forces have, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council resolution 2401, which states that hostilities should be ceased, as well as resolutions 2139 and 2254 that preceded, as both resolutions state that indiscriminate attacks must be ceased. Also, these forces have violated Articles 7 and 8 of Rome Statute through the crime of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps after resolution 2401 was adopted, which explicitly provides for the cease of hostilities and facilitating the passage of humanitarian aids into besieged areas. Also, the report calls on the Security Council to refer the case in Syria to the International Criminal Court and hold all those who were responsible for crimes accountable, including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes have been proven.
The report stresses that the norm ‘Responsibility to Protect (R2P)’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, should be implemented especially after all political channels were consumed, as well as the de-escalation agreements and statement and Astana agreement. Therefore, after all of this, action should be taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ norm should be implemented.
The report also urges the international community and relief groups to supply makeshift hospitals with the necessary medical equipment, especially prothesis in light of the rapid increase in amputation cases among the wounded in Syria. 2,400 various artificial limbs should be secured in all of the areas of Eastern Ghouta as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the report calls on the Russian regime to adhere to the truce it announced and apply pressure on the Syrian regime and its Iranian militias to allow the sick and the humanitarian cases to exit first. Also, the report calls on the Russian regime to ensure the safety of the civilians who want to exit without any arrests or enforced-disappearances.
Additionally, the report stresses that the Russian regime should stop shielding the Syrian regime at the Security Council and using veto to prevent the passing of any international resolution that punishes the Syrian regime.
Finally, the report says that pressure should be applied on the Syrian regime to allow an unconditional passage for humanitarian aids into Eastern Ghouta.