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HRW report: Syria government used chemical weapons

[JURIST] The Syrian government has conducted "coordinated chemical attacks" on the rebel controlled portions of Aleppo, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy site] alleged [report] Monday. On the basis of interviews, video footage and social media posts, HRW concluded that the Assad regime dropped chlorine in residential areas at least eight times in November and December. HRW reported nine total deaths, including four children, as the result of the attacks. The report calls on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions, though such a measure is unlikely, as Russia, a permanent and veto-bearing member of the Security Council, has allied itself with the Assad regime.

The war in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] continues to have a devastating impact, particularly for the war torn region of Aleppo. In December the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] accused Syrian pro-government forces of going door to door and systematically killing civilians [JURIST report] in at least four Aleppo neighborhoods. The Russian/Syrian coalition committed war crimes in Aleppo during September and October, HRW said [JURIST report] in early December. Earlier that month UN officials urged [JURIST report] the international community to unite with the UN Security Council to protect civilians in the eastern Aleppo region. 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.

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