Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [official website] on Sunday urged the prosecution of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Speaking on a live broadcast on the TRT [media website] state news network, Erdoğan called for Assad to be charged with state terrorism [AA report], claiming that the Syrian president is responsible for the death of 500,000 people. The Turkish president spoke out in anger, questioning how Assad can receive red carpet treatment in Russia while killing his own people with IED barrel bombs.
The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the Assad regime, and the increasingly bloody nature of the conflict has put pressure on the international community to intervene. Earlier in March Amnesty International reported [JURIST report] that Russian and Syrian armed forces are deliberately attacking hospitals and other medical facilities as part of a military strategy to clear the way to northern Aleppo. Just prior, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed two resolutions calling for an international tribunal in the Middle East to address [JURIST report] the alleged war crimes committed by the government of Syria and its allies, specifically Russia and Iran.