A report published by Amnesty International on Monday found that the Syrian government, supported by Russia, committed a series of war crimes in northwest Syria in 2019 and 2020. The report alleges the government committed the attacks from the air and ground, which struck residential areas and vital infrastructure.
The findings are based on interviews of Syrians on the ground and international aid workers, videos, photographs, satellite imagery, logs of aircraft observations and intercepted radio aircraft communication. The attacks mainly occurred in opposition-held areas in Idlib, western Aleppo and northwestern Hama. The report documents 18 attacks in these areas on schools and medical facilities. In one of those attacks, at least 11 civilians were killed and more than 30 others injured. Many civilians fled to already crowded displacement camps with poor conditions.
The report claims that these attacks are “serious violations” of international humanitarian law. Some of these violations include that “the attacks were not directed at a specific military object and they violated the immunity from direct attack of civilians and civilian objects, as well as the special protection afforded to specific persons and objects, particularly medical facilities, medical personnel and children.”
The report also claims that the international community, including the UN Security Council, is “largely paralyzed” to the atrocities in Syria and that humanitarian norms are being politicized. On April 15, 2020, Amnesty International sent a letter about its findings and requested related information to the permanent missions of Syria and Russia to the UN in New York, as well as to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the largest coalition of armed groups in northwest Syria. Amnesty did not receive any responses.