[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] on Tuesday accused [press release] Syrian pro-government forces of going door to door and systematically killing civilians in at least four neighborhoods. The killings have reportedly resulted in at least the deaths of 82 civilians, including 13 children. The situation on the ground is causing residents to take to social media [BI report] to explain what is happening and give goodbyes to friends and loved ones. The commissioner pleaded with the international community to assist in stopping the killing of civilians:
The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction—and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict. What can happen next, if the international community continues to collectively wring its hands, can be much more dangerous. What is happening with Aleppo could repeat itself in Douma, in Raqqa, in Idleb. We cannot let this continue.Also Tuesday Amnesty International [advocacy website] said that reports of execution-style killings in Aleppo point to war crimes [press release].
The war in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] continues to have a devastating impact for the war torn region of Aleppo. The Russian/Syrian coalition committed war crimes in Aleppo during September and October, Human Rights Watch said [JURIST report] in early December. The same month UN officials urged [JURIST report] the international community to unite with the UN Security Council to protect civilians in the war-torn eastern Aleppo region of Syria. US Central Command concluded [JURIST report] in November that airstrikes carried out by the US-led coalition near Dayr az Zawr, Syria, in September did not violate international law. Also in November a group of German lawyers announced [JURIST report] the filing of charges against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, alleging that he committed war crimes in Aleppo.