UN Security Council must do more in Syria
Monday, March 24, 2014
NEW YORK - Attacks on populated areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo and its countryside continue despite a UN Security Council resolution, in February, demanding that all parties “immediately cease all attacks against civilians,” and end “the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including the use of barrel bombs.”
According to a report from Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization conducting research and advocacy on human rights, the strikes on Aleppo and surrounding areas have killed and wounded large numbers of civilians and led to large-scale displacement. The report cites figures from the Violations Documentation Center, a Syria-based monitoring group, that between November 2013 and February 2014 there have been around 266 airstrikes killing at least 1,380 civilians, including 441 children, with approximately 20,000 wounded.
The onslaught has also led to the displacement of thousands from the area, with up to 6,000 families seeking refuge in the Turkish border town of Kilis in mid-March, a Syrian relief coordinator has said.
“New satellite photos and witness accounts show the brutality unleashed on parts of Aleppo,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch has said, adding that the “use of barrel bombs in residential neighborhoods has done the expected: killed hundreds of civilians and driven thousands from their homes. If these indiscriminate dumb weapons managed to hit a military target, it would be sheer luck.”
Human Rights Watch believes that given the indiscriminate attacks against civilian areas, the UN Security Council should go further and impose an arms embargo on Syria’s government, as well as on any groups implicated in widespread or systematic human rights abuses, and refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.
“For three years the Syrian government has declared open season on civilians with almost no consequences,” Whitson said.
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