Including 21 Massacres at the hands of the Syrian-Russian Alliance
SNHR has published its monthly report documenting the massacres perpetrated by the parties to the conflict for the month of April.
The report outlines the toll of the massacres perpetrated in April 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 April 2017 – 11 at the hands of Syrian regime forces, 10 by Russian forces, 9 by the international coalition forces, 1 by ISIS, 1 by the Kurdish Self-Management forces and 3 by other parties.
According to the report, Syrian regime forces committed 4 massacres in Damascus suburbs, 2 in both Idlib and Daraa, one in Deir Ez-Zour, 1 in Aleppo, and 1 in Homs, while Russian forces perpetrated 9 massacres in Idlib and 1 in Hama. Furthermore, international coalition forces perpetrated 8 massacres in al Raqqa and 1 in Deir Ez-Zour. The report also records one massacre at the hands of the Kurdish Self-Management forces in al Raqqa, whereas ISIS committed one massacre in al Raqqa as well. Additionally, one massacre in Aleppo, one in Damascus, and one in Deir Ez-Zour were committed by other parties according to the report.
According to SNHR’s victim documentation team, 450 individuals were killed in these massacres including 160 children and 77 women (adult female) which suggests that 53% 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 April where Syrian regime forces killed 184 individuals, including 64 children and 38 women, while 103 individuals, including 48 children and 17 women, were killed in the massacres perpetrated by Russian forces. Also, international coalition forces killed 72 individuals, including 26 children and 17 women, in the massacres they perpetrated, while ISIS killed 10 civilians, including four children and two women, and Kurdish Self-Management Forces killed six civilians, including four children. Lastly, the death toll in the massacre by other parties were 75 individuals including 14 children and three women.
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. In addition, international coalition forces, ISIS, Self-Management forces and other parties (includes groups that we weren’t able to identify in addition to Turkish, Lebanese, and Jordanian forces) have committed massacres that constitute war crimes according to the report. However, these crimes are not crimes against humanity as with the case of Syrian regime forces and their pro-regime forces that are committing massacres in a widespread and systematic manner.
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.