White Helmets rescuers carry a victim of Assad regime bombing on Idlib Province, northwest Syria, July 12, 2019
The UN has denounced both the pro-Assad mass killing of civilians in northwest Syria and the “international indifference” towards the attacks.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Friday of the assaults on markets, hospitals, bakeries, and other sites, “These are civilian objects, and it seems highly unlikely, given the persistent pattern of such attacks, that they are all being hit by accident.”
Without named the Russians for their involvement in the mass killing, she criticized the “failure of leadership by the world’s most powerful nations”, saying the bombardment had been met with a “collective shrug”: “Intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes, and those who have ordered them or carried them out are criminally responsible for their actions.”
On Monday, as the Pope’s envoy met Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, the pro-Assad bombardment killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 100 across Idlib Province. Attacks on Wednesday left another 16 dead.
Since late April, the Russian-regime attacks — shattering a demilitarized zone declared by Russia and Turkey last September — have killed about 700 civilians, including more than 150 children. More than 2,200 people have been injured, and at least 330,000 of Idlib and northern Hama Province’s 3 million population — about 20% of those remaining in Syria — have been displaced.
More than 30 medical facilities and at least 31 civil defense centers and vehicles have been struck.
The latest assault has concentrated on towns and villages along the M5 highway from Aleppo to Homs. Khan Sheikhoun, the target of an April 2017 sarin attack, has been reduced to a “ghost town” with almost all residents — many of them having been displaced from other parts of Syria — fleeing once again, closer to the Turkish border.
The Russian-regime offensive, to retake part of the last major opposition area in Syria, began on May 6. It took several towns and villages in northwest Hama Province in the first two weeks, but was then checked by Turkish-backed rebels of the National Liberation Front and by the Islamist bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. Anti-Assad counter-attacks regained territory in June, and the pro-Assad forces have been unable to advance since then, instead facing raids seizing weapons and inflicting casualties.
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) July 25, 2019
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) July 26, 2019
Girl in Iconic Photo Dies After Saving Sister
A girl has died after saving her infant sister, in an iconic photograph of the devastation of Idlib.
As her father looked on, Reham, 5, grabbed the shirt of her 7-month-old sister Tuqa to keep her from falling off the destroyed edge of a bombed building on Wednesday in the town of Ariha.
Reham hit her head on a stone when she fell in the rubble, and died while receiving treatment in the ambulance.
Tuqa survived and has been discharged from the hospital. But the third sister, 3-year-old Rawan, standing behind Reham in the photo, died on Friday in the hospital.
The children’s mother also died when the pro-Assad strike hit the building where the family of 12 were living. Four other children are continuing to receive treatment for their injuries.
At least 10 people were killed in Ariha in Wednesday’s pro-Assad attacks.