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Syria situation a breach of humanitarian law: EU officials

[JURIST] Attacks in Aleppo, Syria's capital, were called a "breach of international humanitarian law" in a joint statement [text] by EU officials on Saturday. The EU is urging countries with influence on the parties to encourage negotiations to cease the attacks and allow humanitarian aid to victims in need. Suffering in Aleppo has become worse in the last 48 hours, according to the officials. They denounced the targeting of a humanitarian convoy, which was hit by an airstrike last week. Because of this, many civilians in Aleppo were deprived of water supplies. According to UN officials, millions more civilians were also left without water [AFP report] after attacks damaged a pumping station. The EU said it will review actions it could take to help parties in negotiations.

The conflict in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] has continued for five years in a civil war surrounding the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this month Russian officials stated [JURIST report] that a US-led airstrike that killed Syrian troops could threaten the ceasefire agreed upon between Syrian and opposition forces. In August a top UN official submitted a report detailing an in-depth investigation into chemical warfare [JURIST report] used by Islamic State and Assad in Syria. That same month Amnesty International said that a suspected chlorine gas attack in Aleppo could amount to a war crime [JURIST report]. In July Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] cluster bombs have been targeted at civilians and rebels in Northern Syria. In June UN human rights experts called for the immediate protection [JURIST report] of thousands of Syrian civilians.

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