UN condemns “indifference” to airstrikes in Syria

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned on Friday “international indifference” to the lives of an increasing number of civilian deaths from air strikes in northwestern Syria.

Bachelet said the latest raids targeted “medical facilities, schools and other civilian infrastructure such as markets and bakeries.”

“These properties are civilian, and it seems very unlikely that they have been struck by the continuing pattern of such attacks,” she said. “Intentional attacks against civilians are a war crime and are ordered or carried out by a criminal official.”

The province of Idlib and adjacent areas, where live about three million people, the escalation of Syrian and Russian shelling since the end of April, accompanied by fierce fighting concentrated in the northern Hama.

The Sham Liberation Organization (formerly Nasra Front) has been in charge of administration and militarism in Idlib and its surroundings, where there are also less powerful Islamist factions and fighters.

Since the end of April, more than 730 civilians have been killed by Syrian and Russian shelling, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. More than 330,000 people have been displaced, according to the United Nations.

Bachelet noted with concern that the conflict in Syria “is no longer picked up by international radars.” Today, air strikes kill and maim a large number of civilians several times a week, and appear to be answered by collective neglect.

“The Security Council has been paralyzed by the failure of its five permanent members to continue to agree to use their power and influence to put an end to the clashes and killings,” she said.

“This is a leadership failure experienced by the world’s most powerful nations, leading to a tragedy so widespread that we can no longer identify with it,” she said.

Idlib and its environs were relatively calm after the signing of a Russian-Turkish agreement in September 2018, which provided for the establishment of a demilitarized zone between the regime and the factions. However, since February, the regime’s forces have stepped up their bombardment before Russian planes join them later.

“Influential people, including those who have agreed to ease hostilities as part of a ceasefire, should use their influence urgently to stop the current military campaign and bring the warring parties back to the negotiating table,” the commissioner concluded.

And warned that “the alternative to it is more blind death and blind destruction because of an endless war.”

Syria has been plagued by a bloody conflict since its outbreak in 2011 that killed more than 370,000 people and caused massive damage to infrastructure and displaced more than half of the population inside and outside the country.


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