UN Report — Assad Regime Bombed Our Convoy, Carried Out Aleppo Chemical Attacks

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The UN Human Rights Council has issued a 37-page report on the final months of the pro-Assad assault on opposition areas of Aleppo, culminating in the reoccupation of Syria’s largest city in December.

The report rebuffs the months of Russian and Assad propaganda denying pro-Assad airstrikes on a UN convoy in September, breaking a ceasefire and ensuring that no aid would reached the besieged opposition districts in Aleppo. It documents the Russian-regime aerial assaults killed “hundreds” of people and destroying hospitals, markets, and schools, and it notes executions of civilians after the opposition neighborhoods were occupied.

The report also points to shelling of regime-held western Aleppo city by rebels, calling the fire “indiscriminate” in causing dozens of casualties. It says some factions prevented civilians leaving the eastern section as siege conditions worsens and pro-Assad units advanced on the area.

Executive Summary

The battle for control over Aleppo city was a stage of unrelenting violence, with civilians on both sides falling victim to war crimes committed by all parties. As part of a strategy to force surrender, pro-Government forces encircled eastern Aleppo city in late July and trapped civilians without adequate food or medical supplies. Between July and December 2016, Syrian and Russian forces carried out daily air strikes, claiming hundreds of lives and reducing hospitals, schools and markets to rubble. Syrian forces also used chlorine bombs in residential areas, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties.

Armed groups persistently shelled civilians in western Aleppo city. Using improvised weapons, these groups often fired indiscriminately in attacks that killed and injured dozens, including women and children. When launched without a clear military target, these attacks intentionally terrorized the civilian population. As the situation deteriorated in eastern Aleppo and people tried desperately to flee, some armed groups violently prevented them and used them as human shields.

In a particularly egregious attack, Syrian air forces targeted a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo countryside, killing more than a dozen aid workers and destroying vital supplies for civilians in need. The convoy had been authorized by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, which was aware of its location at the time of the attack. The attack led to the suspension of aid convoys throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, depriving civilians from access to essential goods.

As pro-Government forces recaptured eastern Aleppo city in December, some executed hors de combat fighters and perceived armed group supporters. Hundreds of men and boys were separated from their families and forcibly conscripted by the Syrian army. The fate of others remains unknown.

Read full report….

One of the UN aid trucks destroyed by regime airstrikes west of Aleppo, September 19, 2016

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Actually the report accuses both sides of war crimes and accused the rebels of using civilians as human shields. The so called impoverished weapons included Grad Missiles.

    The ceasefire was broken when the US attacked Syrian Forces near Deir ez-Zor. Any suggestion this was a mistake have been put to bed. It was clearly an intentional attack orchestrated by Ash Carter to undermine cooperation between the US and Russia.

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