67% of all Victims were Killed by Syrian Regime Forces in Eastern Ghouta
SNHR said today that no less than 1,389 civilians were killed in February by the parties to the conflict in Syria, 67% of them were killed in Eastern Ghouta at the hands of Syrian regime 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 this month recorded a rise in the rates of killings at the hands of Syrian regime forces and their allies in de-escalation zones. This was concentrated in the besieged region of Eastern Ghouta, Damascus suburbs, in which the Syrian regime killed approximately 67% of all civilian victims. Bombardments never stopped despite Security Council resolution 2401, which was adopted unanimously on February 24, 2018, providing for a cessation of hostilities and allowing for the passage of aids, and the Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu’s personal and nonsensical interpretation of the Security Council resolution in announcing a five-hour truce from 09:00 to 14:00. Also, we haven’t recorded that any aids were delivered into the besieged areas.
The report adds that Syrian regime forces used barrel bombs in Eastern Ghouta for the first time in about a year and a half. We have recorded a number of civilian deaths by that weapon – the majority of them were in Damascus suburbs’ Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo governorate.
The report records that 1,389 civilians were killed in February 2018. Of those, Syrian regime forces killed 1079, including 203 children (an average of eight children per day) and 179 women (adult female). Also, among the victims killed by Syrian regime forces were seven who died due to torture. Forces believed to be Russian killed 77 civilians, including 27 children and 12 women.
On the other hand, the report adds that 12 civilians were killed by Self-Management forces in February, including three children and one woman, while the report says that 41 civilians, including 10 children and three women, were killed by extremist Islamic groups – divided into 35 civilians killed by ISIS, including 10 children and three women, and six civilians killed by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham.
Additionally, the report records that six civilians were killed by factions from the armed opposition, including two children and one woman. Lastly, the report records that 102 civilians, including 50 children and 31 women, were killed in air attacks by international coalition forces in February.
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.