Russia attempts to distort peace process in Syria - Rights Group -

27 January, Thursday

Russia attempts to distort peace process in Syria - Rights Group

Despite efforts for peace in the war-torn country, the Bashar Assad regime and its ally Russia have stepped up their attacks in Syria last month, disregarding the lives of civilians and vital civilian infrastructure

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Russia is attempting to “divert and distort” the peace progress in Syria while undermining de-escalation agreements, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said in a monthly report, calling on the United Nations to condemn perpetrators of crimes and massacres.
The 25-page report documented the deaths of 129 civilians, including 44 children and 17 women in July 2021, “with the highest percentage of killings being carried out at the hands of Syrian-Russian alliance forces.”
Among those who lost their lives were a medical worker, a civil defense worker, a media member and 10 who died due to torture.
“The Syrian regime must stop its indiscriminate shelling and targeting of residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, and stop using prohibited munitions and barrel bombs, as well as complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law,” the SNHR underlined.
It documented at least 15 attacks on vital civilian facilities, five of which were carried out by the Bashar Assad regime, four by Russian forces, five by the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian wing, the YPG, while the perpetrators of one attack could not be identified.
Most recently, amid the regime's increasing attacks on civilians and residential areas, the United Nations has voiced deep concern over the escalating violence in northwestern Syria, which poses a constant risk to civilians.
The regime and its backers have violated the ongoing cease-fire in northwestern Syria's Idlib region at least 800 times in the last 45 days, killing at least 66 civilians.
As another example of the regime’s atrocities, shelling has killed four children in Syria's last major opposition bastion Idlib in the northwest of the country, a Britain-based war monitor said Sunday.
A cease-fire deal brokered by regime ally Russia and main opposition backer Turkey has largely protected the region from a new regime offensive since March 2020.
The Syrian regime, however, has consistently violated the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
Saying that July as the second month in a row saw increasing violence in northwest Syria, the SNHR highlighted that the regime and its backer Russia’s attacks focused on the Jabal al-Zawiya region south of Idlib and its surroundings.
“During this month, the Syrian Network for Human Rights encountered difficulty in identifying whether the source of bombardment could be attributed specifically to Russian forces or Syrian regime forces, in several incidents, in addition to the use of new munitions that have not yet been identified up to the time of the report’s publication.
"It accused Russia and the regime to directly target civilians and civilian objects in addition to committing several crimes including extrajudicial killing, arrest, torture, and enforced disappearances."
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crime of attacking civilians has been committed in many cases,” it added. Those who are responsible should be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven.”
The report also touched on the rising escalation in Syria's southern province of Daraa, which saw the deadliest flare-up in three years in recent weeks.
It said that the Syrian regime continued to besiege the Daraa al-Balad area, a southern district of the provincial capital, the Tareeq al-Sadd and Camps neighborhoods in Daraa while closing the only remaining road leading to the area and obstructed the entry of food and medical supplies.
The violence killed 28 people, including eight regime fighters and nine gunmen affiliated with opposition groups. Shelling by the army of several parts of Daraa also killed 11 civilians, including several children.
Russian-backed Syrian troops and allied forces recaptured Daraa from the opposition in 2018, a symbolic blow to the anti-regime uprising born in the city in 2011.
The SNHR also documented at least 172 cases of arbitrary arrests “with the largest percentage of these carried out by Syrian regime forces in the governorate of Daraa, then Damascus Suburbs.”
For years, the Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further territorial gains and crushing the opposition. With this aim, for years the regime has bombed civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and residential areas, displacing almost half the country's population.
The war in Syria has killed nearly 500,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011.

Daily Sabah

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