Amnesty Asks UN to Save Civilians from Attacks in Aleppo

Damage from Attacks in Aleppo
Damage from Attacks in Aleppo

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) must step in to fill the void left by the Security Council members’ catastrophic failure to end relentless attacks targeting the civilian population in eastern Aleppo city of Syria, said Amnesty International Thursday, ahead of a UNGA meeting.

The human rights organization has released new satellite imagery illustrating the scale of destruction, as well as testimony from civilians trapped in the city, providing evidence that Syrian government forces, with Russian support, have callously attacked residential homes, medical facilities, schools, markets and mosques as part of a deliberate military strategy to empty the city of its inhabitants and seize control.

In some cases there is evidence that Russian-made cluster munitions were used in attacks, Amnesty said.

“The world’s inaction in the face of the continuing carnage and blatant violations in Aleppo city must end. The UN General Assembly must show it can act where the Security Council has so catastrophically failed – the credibility of the UN is at stake,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

“The scale of the bloodshed and destruction wrought on eastern Aleppo city over the past month is harrowing. Syrian government forces, with the support of Russia, have launched relentless attacks that have flagrantly disregarded fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.”

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According to Amnesty, the diplomatic deadlock has seen the UN Security Council paralysed as the civilian death toll in Aleppo rises by the day.

Russia, with support from China, has repeatedly wielded its veto power to block any action that would see the Syrian government held accountable for grave violations, including war crimes, Amnesty said.

It added that less than two weeks ago a French UN draft resolution calling for an end to attacks on civilians in Aleppo failed after a Russian veto.

Further, Amnesty reports that the bombing of eastern Aleppo has intensified drastically since the collapse of the latest ceasefire on 19 September. At least 600 aerial attacks were carried out in the space of three weeks in the period up until the 10 October, according to the Syrian Institute for Justice and Accountability, a local monitoring group. Aleppo’s Health Directorate estimates around 400 civilians were killed in these attacks.

Satellite imagery analyzed by Amnesty International reveals that in just one week, 90 locations were damaged or destroyed in an area roughly the size of Manhattan, New York City. Overall more than 110 locations were damaged between 18 September and 1 October 2016.

Photo / Video courtesy: Amnesty

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