68% Killed in Eastern Ghouta at the hands of Syrian Regime Forces and Their Allies
SNHR said today that no less than 1,241 civilians were killed in March by the parties to the conflict in Syria, including 1,006 who were killed at the hands of Syrian-Russian alliance forces.
The report notes that SNHR has largely focused, since it was founded, on documenting victims who were killed at the hands of the parties to the conflict, and created a database for the victims’ names and their information such as sex, age, occupation, way of killing, the party that killed them, and the type of weapon used.
The report also sheds light on the various and different patterns of crimes and ways of killing that have been documented since the popular uprising for freedom started in March 2011, ranging from gunfire, air attacks, and death due to torture inside detention centers, to chemical and cluster attacks, landmines, as well as victims who died of hypothermia, starvation, or due to medication shortage, or drowning as they were fleeing.
The report includes the civilian death toll by the seven parties to the conflict in Syria. The report stresses that military victims weren’t included in light of the difficulties found in this type of documentation.
The report draws upon ongoing monitoring of news and developments, and on a wide network of relations with tens of various sources, in addition to analyzing a large number of pictures and videos.
The report stresses that many incidents that resulted in casualties might not constitute a violation of the international humanitarian law but involved collateral damages. Therefore, they are recorded and achieved in order to preserve historical accuracy without considering them as having qualified as crimes.
The report notes that civilian death toll by Syrian-Russian alliance forces in March wasn’t significantly different from that of February. For the second month in a row, Eastern Ghouta topped all areas with 92% of all civilian victims killed by Syrian regime forces and their allies even though the killing has stopped since al Rahman Corps, an armed opposition faction, announced an agreement on March 23 to displace the residents that remained in the middle sector of Eastern Ghouta, which includes Irbeen city and Zamalka and Ein Tarma towns, as well as Damascus’s Joubar neighborhood. We also noticed a military escalation by Syrian-Russian alliance forces against Idlib governorate in late-March after a relative stability that lasted for about a month.
The report records that 3,404 civilians have been killed since the start of 2018 at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria. 80% were killed by Syrian-Russian alliance forces.
The report records that 1,241 civilians were killed in March 2018. Of those, Syrian regime forces killed 914, including 203 children (an average of seven children per day) and 186 women (adult female). Also, among the victims killed by Syrian regime forces were 12 who died due to torture. Forces believed to be Russian killed 92 civilians, including 46 children and 14 women.
On the other hand, the report adds that 34 civilians were killed by Self-Management forces in March, including one child and seven women, while the report says that 39 civilians were killed by extremist Islamic groups – divided into 30 civilians killed by ISIS, including six children and two women, and nine civilians killed by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, including four children.
Additionally, the report records that three civilians were killed by factions from the armed opposition, including one child and one woman. Lastly, the report records that seven civilians, including one child and one woman, were killed in air attacks by international coalition forces in March.
According to the report, 152 civilians, including 34 children and 32 women, died sinking, or were killed in bombings that SNHR couldn’t identify their perpetrators, or were killed by gunfire/landmines of unknown source, in addition to victims who died in fires as well as victims who were killed by Turkish, Lebanese, and Jordanian forces.
The report stresses that Syrian-Russian alliance forces violated the rules of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. 90% of the wide and individual attacks, the report adds, were directed against civilians and civilian objects, which discredits the Syrian government’s and the Russian regime’s claims that they are fighting “Al Qaeda and terrorists”.
The report also notes that all other parties have committed crimes of extrajudicial killing which constitutes a war crime.
The report calls on the Security Council to take additional steps after resolution 2139 has been adopted. Also, the report stresses that the Syrian case should be referred to the International Criminal Court and all those who were involved should be held accountable, including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been proven.
In addition, the report calls for the implementation of the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” norm, especially after all political channels have been consumed through all agreements, as well as Cessation of Hostilities statements and Astana agreements. The report stresses that action should be taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and the “Responsibility to Protect” norm, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, should be implemented.
The report calls on the European Union and the United States of America to support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism that was established in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 71/248, adopted on December 21, 2016. And establish local tribunals that enjoy a universal jurisdiction, and address the war crimes that were perpetrated in Syria.
Also, the report calls on the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations on the incidents included in this report and past reports. The report stresses that SNHR is willing to cooperate and provide more evidences and data.
Additionally, the report calls on the Russian regime to launch investigations in the incidents included in the report, make the findings of these investigation public to the Syrian people, and hold all those who were involved accountable. Also, compensate all victims’ families, who were killed by the current Russian regime, as well as all the wounded.
Moreover, the report calls on the international coalition forces to unequivocally and truly acknowledge that some of the bombardment operations have resulted in the killing of innocent civilians, demanding that the international coalition launch serious investigations, and immediately compensate and apologize to the victims and those who were affected.
Further, the report calls on the SDF-supporting states to apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns that are under their control. And cease all forms of support, including weapons.
Lastly, the report calls on armed opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all of their areas of control. Also, armed opposition factions should distinguish between civilians and military targets, and cease any indiscriminate attacks.