UN expert Paulo Pinheiro on Tuesday reported [press release] civilian violence in Syria is dramatically increasing, causing internal displacement and an estimated quarter of a million civilians to flee the country.
Pinheiro, Chairperson of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria [official website], condemned the violence saying the parties responsible are failing to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. Of paramount concern is the number of attacks on medical facilities and personnel. International humanitarian law requires the parties to protect medical facilities and personnel, yet at least three hospitals were bombed in just 48 hours. Pinherio also alleges further crimes, including use of bombs “containing weaponised chlorine,” which “have been used in the town of Saraqeb in Idlib and in Douma in eastern Ghouta.”
Pinherio called out for an end to the violence stating:
What is happening in eastern Ghouta is not simply a humanitarian crisis because aid is denied, these sieges involve the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population. … It is time for all warring parties to make the lives of civilians their paramount concern. … This requires unimpeded humanitarian access to the civilian population and an end to indiscriminate bombardment.