UN: Both sides guilty of war crimes in Aleppo

UN commission finds that both Syrian rebels as well as the regime are guilty of war crimes in Aleppo.

Elad Benari ,

Smoke rises in eastern Aleppo
Smoke rises in eastern Aleppo
Reuters

Both Syrian rebels as well as the regime of Bashar Al-Assad are guilty of committing war crimes in Aleppo, the UN said Wednesday, according to Fox News.

The assessment comes in a report released by the UN Commission of Inquiry (UNCI) on developments in the Syrian civil war between July and December of last year.

Among the commission's findings is that Russian and Syrian warplanes dropped unguided munitions, known as “dumb bombs,” and that the Syrian government intentionally carried out airstrikes on a humanitarian convoy in the rural outskirts of western Aleppo last September. That attack killed 14 aid workers.

"By using air-delivered munitions with the knowledge that humanitarian workers were operating in the location, Syrian forces committed the war crimes of deliberately attacking humanitarian relief personnel, denial of humanitarian aid, and attacking civilians," the report said, according to Fox News.

The report looked at violations committed last year between July 21, when the rebel-held part of Aleppo was besieged, and December 22, when Syrian troops and allied forces assumed full control of the city.

The report concluded that the six-month siege of the city “was a stage of unrelenting violence.”

It noted that civilians from both sides were left trapped in the eastern part of Aleppo without adequate food or medical supplies as Syrian and Russian forces conducted daily air strikes that killed hundreds and decimated hospitals, schools and markets.

The situation was so severe, found the commission, that as civilians tried to flee they were violently forced to stay by armed groups and used as human shields. In the western part of the city, rebel groups would often fire indiscriminately killing and injuring dozens — including women and children.

The commission drew on the testimony of 291 eyewitnesses, satellite imagery and an array of materials, including medical reports, forensic evidence and information provided by UN member states.

The report follows a separate report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) which concluded that Syrian government forces carried out at least eight chemical attacks in late 2016 as they were fighting to capture Aleppo.

HRW said it interviewed witnesses, collected photos and reviewed video footage indicating that chlorine bombs were dropped from government helicopters during the offensive from November 17 to December 13.

It concluded that nine people, including four children, were killed and another 200 were injured by the toxic gases used on opposition-controlled areas of the northern city.

Syria's government denied HRW’s claims, saying the group’s report was "unprofessional and unscientific" and claimed it was based on fabricated testimony.



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