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Syria, Russia committed war crimes in Aleppo, says HRW

Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out deliberate or reckless attacks against civilians [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2016

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Human Rights Watch on Thursday said Syrian and Russian forces committed war crimes during their month-long aerial bombing campaign of rebel-held areas in Aleppo between September and October.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday said Syrian and Russian forces committed war crimes during their month-long aerial bombing campaign of rebel-held areas in Aleppo between September and October.

Citing the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian monitoring organisation, HRW said the bombing campaign killed more than 440 civilians, including more than 90 children.

It added that Russian and Syrian airstrikes on rebel-held areas “often appeared to be recklessly indiscriminate, deliberately targeted at least one medical facility, and included the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions and incendiary weapons.”

The New York based rights group said it analysed satellite imagery that shows more than 950 new distinct impact sites consistent with the detonation of large high explosive bombs across the area during the month.

“Using that amount of firepower in an urban area with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of civilians predictably killed hundreds of civilians,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

“Those who ordered and carried out unlawful attacks should be tried for war crimes,” Solvang added.

The rights group said that regime and Russian aircraft had attacked one medical facility, al-Sakhour Medical Centre, on at least four separate occasions between September 28 and October 14.

The medical centre went out of service at the start of October due to the extent of damage caused by the multiple attacks.

In the same period, attacks also struck search and rescue teams, including four centres operated by the Syria Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, HRW said.

“Deliberate or reckless attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including hospitals, committed with criminal intent are war crimes,” HRW said.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled fighting in Aleppo as Syrian regime troops and their allies advanced on rebel-held areas in the past few days. 

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