Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (left) meets with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. (Russian Presidency)

UN Report Details Alleged War Crimes, Rights Violations in Syria

A UN report published on Tuesday, investigating the recent battle over Idlib in western Syria, found rampant human rights violations, war crimes and atrocities perpetrated by President Bashar al-Assad’s government troops and Russian forces. In a 29-page report, UN officials detailed 52 cases of torture, rape, murder, aerial bombardments of fleeing civilians, pillaging and other war crimes that occurred from November 2019 to June 2020. The aerial and ground attacks targeted hospitals and medical facilities, schools, public markets and private homes, and led to over a million displaced Syrian refugees. As if that weren’t enough, the harrowing report also warns of the possibility of an impending coronavirus outbreak that would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Idlib and Aleppo. “Now more than ever, civilians need sustained and unfettered access to humanitarian assistance which must neither be politicized by [UN] member states nor instrumentalized by parties to the conflict,” wrote commissioner Hanny Megally. “Pandemics know no borders, neither should life-saving aid.” The war in Syria between Assad’s regime and several rebel factions has been raging for close to a decade, taking the lives of an estimated 400,000 people and displacing close to 10 million others, 6 million of them inside the ravaged country.

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