US News Syria: the UN discusses crimes of war or against humanity in Idleb

23:15  07 july  2020
23:15  07 july  2020 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Dans la province d’Idleb, un jeune Syrien fuit à bord d’un camion de fortune avec les affaires qu’il a pu sauver. (Illustration). © AFP / Aaref Watad In the province of Idleb, a young Syrian flees aboard a makeshift truck with the belongings he was able to save. (Drawing).

Many war crimes, even crimes against humanity, have been committed in the province of Idleb (sometimes spelled Idlib), the last insurgent stronghold in north-west Syria, subjected to a regime offensive in late 2019 and early 2020. This is highlighted in a report released Tuesday by the UN.

The document covers the period from November 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, and documents 52 attacks based on nearly 300 interviews and photographic and video equipment.

"Children were bombed in school, parents were bombed in the market, patients were bombed in hospital, and whole families were bombed while fleeing," said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry into Syria, at a press conference in Geneva (Switzerland).

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The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, supported by its Russian ally, relaunched in December 2019 its offensive against Idleb, the last bastion in the hands of rebel and jihadist groups, before a precarious truce sponsored by Russia and Turkey came into effect in early March. The offensive has left a million displaced and more than 500 civilian dead, according to the UN.

Encourage people to flee

"During this military campaign, pro-government forces and groups designated by the UN as terrorists have blatantly violated the laws of war and the rights of Syrian civilians," said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro again. . "All the belligerents have probably committed war crimes," he adds.

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Some of these "indiscriminate bombings", notably on Maaret al-Noomane in the province of Idleb and at Atarib (west of Aleppo) in December and February "could constitute a crime against humanity", point The report.

“We have come to the conclusion that the attacks carried out by the pro-government forces were systematic and aimed at forcing people to flee. Forced population transfer is a crime against humanity, "said investigator Hanny Megally at the press conference.

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The Pinheiro Commission also looked into the abuses of the main jihadist group in the region, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), accused "looting, detention, torture and execution of civilians, including journalists".

HTS also "indiscriminately bombed densely populated areas, sowing terror among civilians living in government-controlled areas," the report said.

UN denounces war crimes in Idlib since 2019

 UN denounces war crimes in Idlib since 2019 SYRIA-CONFLICT UN: UN denounces war crimes in Idlib since 2019 © Reuters / Yana Paskova UN denounces war crimes in IDLIB since 2019 GENEVA (Reuters) - Syrian and Russian air strikes in the Idlib region amount to war crimes akin to war crimes against schools, hospitals and markets, say independent investigators mandated by the United Nations in a report released Tuesday, which also highlights the responsibility of jihadist rebel groups in the commission of atrocities.

A call for a three-month truce

“The women, men and children we interviewed had the choice between being bombed or fleeing further in areas controlled by HTS, where human rights are violated and where the "Humanitarian assistance is very limited," explains investigator Karen Koning AbuZayd.

The commission, which called for a three-month fighting truce, "urges the belligerents to heed the call of the UN Security Council for a lasting cease-fire," said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro . He also recalled that "any lasting peace requires justice for the victims" and called for "an end to impunity" in Syria.

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The UN Security Council adopted in early July a resolution calling for an end to the conflicts in the world to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

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