The Lowest Death and Destruction Toll by Russian Forces since they First Intervened in Syria
SNHR has published its periodic death toll report for the month of January 2017 in which it documented the killing of 781 civilians at the hands of the main influential parties in Syria.
The report notes that there has been a decent and notable drop in the rates of killing throughout Syria, since the Ankara Ceasefire Agreement went into effect, especially in the areas under the control of armed opposition factions, as the Syrian regime-held areas aren’t subjected to heavy, daily aerial bombardment, which has resulted in the killing of no less than 60% the victims, and destroyed buildings, displacing the people of Syria.
The report sheds light on the fallouts in the wake of the agreement regarding the aspects of live for civilians, where more patients are now going to hospitals and medical points, and many children are enrolling again in schools after they were denied that for fear of being killed in light of the frequent targeting of schools, as well as hospitals. Also, markets are more lively, and many infrastructure services are being rehabilitated. Nonetheless, breaches didn’t stop, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be affected the most should the ceasefire go on, especially crimes of extrajudicial killing, and, more horrendously, dying due to torture, which strongly proves that there is some sort of ceasefire on the table. The crimes, however, that the international community wasn’t able to notice, and particularly the Turkish and Russian sponsors, are still ongoing as nothing has changed in that regard.
The report says that January 2017 saw the lowest death toll by Russian forces since the start of the Russian intervention in Syria. Also, targeting vital centers by Russian forces is less severe than any previous month since the start of the Russian intervention.
The report notes that SNHR team encounters difficulties in documenting victims from armed opposition factions as many of those victims are killed on battlefronts and not inside cities. Also, we aren’t able to obtain details such as names, pictures and other important details on account of the armed opposition forces’ unwillingness to reveal such information for security concerns among other reasons. Therefore, the actual number of victims is much greater than what is being recorded.
On the other side, the report affirms that it is almost impossible to access information about victims from Syrian regime forces or from ISIS and the margin of error is considerably higher due to the lack of any applicable methodology in this type of documentation. The Syrian government and ISIS don’t publish, reveal, or record their victims. From our perspective, the statistics published by some groups on this category of victims are fictitious and are not based on any actual data.
Therefore, the report only incudes civilian victims who were killed by all parties and compare them.
The report breaks down the death toll of January 2017 where Syrian regime forces killed 346 civilians including 48 children (two children are killed every day) and 37 women. Additionally, among the victims were 19 civilians who died due to torture.
The report notes that forces we believe are Russian killed 48 civilians including 20 children and 14 women.
Additionally, the report documented the killing of one civilian at the hands of the Self-management forces.
Furthermore, the report notes that ISIS killed 99 civilians including 28 children and 12 women. In addition, armed opposition factions killed eight civilians including two children. Also, among the victims killed by armed opposition factions were three civilians who died due to torture.
In addition, the report records that 91 civilians, including 28 children and 12 women, were killed by the international coalition forces in January.
The report documents that 188 civilians, including 32 children and 20 women, have either died drowning as they were fleeing by sea or in bombings that SNHR hasn’t been able to identify its perpetrators, as of this writing, or by bullets or landmines that we couldn’t determine their source, or by Turkish, Jordanian, or Lebanese forces.
The report emphasizes that Syrian regime forces and Russian forces have violated the international human rights law which guarantees the right to life. Furthermore, evidences and proofs, according to hundreds of eyewitnesses’ accounts, suggest that 90% at least of the widespread and single attacks were directed against civilians and civil facilities.
Also, ISIS perpetrated many crimes of extrajudicial killing which constitute war crimes.
Moreover, some of the armed opposition factions committed crimes of extrajudicial killing that qualify as war crimes. Also, Self-management forces and international coalition forces have both committed war crimes that manifested in the crime of extrajudicial killing.
The report calls on the Security Council and the international community to uphold their responsibilities in relation to the crimes of killing that is being perpetrated ceaselessly and to apply pressure on the Syrian government to stop the deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of civilians.
Finally, the report considers the Russian regime, all Shiite militias, and ISIS as foreign parties that are effectively involved in the killings and holds all of these parties and the financiers and supports of the Syrian regime legally and judicially responsible.