SNHR says 416 civilians killed in May

SNHR says 416 civilians killed in May
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced in its monthly report released on Saturday (June 1) that at least 416 Civilians, including four medical personnel and one Civil Defense personnel, were documented killed in Syria in May 2019, in addition to 14 persons who died due to torture at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria.

The 17-page report states that the crime of murder has become widespread and systematic, mainly at the hands of Syrian (Assad) regime forces and their affiliated militias, adding that the entry of several parties into the Syrian conflict has increased the importance and complexity of documenting the victims killed in Syria.

The report notes that since 2011, the SNHR has created complex electronic programs to archive and categorize the victims’ data, enabling the network to catalogue victims according to the gender and location where each was killed, the governorate from which each victim originally came, and the party responsible for the killing, and to make comparisons between these parties, and identify the governorates which lost the largest proportion of residents. The report catalogues the death toll of victims according to the governorate in which they were killed, rather than by the governorate they originally came from

This report records the death toll of victims documented killed by the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria in May 2019, particularly focusing on the victims amongst children and women, those who died due to torture, and victims amongst media and medical personnel, paying particular attention to the massacres committed by the main perpetrator parties to the conflict over the past month.

The report records the deaths of 416 civilians in May, including 107 children and 62 women (adult female). This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with 269 of the civilians, including 51 children and 48 women, killed at the hands of Assad militias, while 45 civilians, including 17 children and 10 women, were killed at the hands of Russian forces, and two civilians were killed at the hands of ISIS and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS).

The report also documents the deaths of six civilians, including five children and one woman at the hands of factions of the armed opposition, while Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed 21 civilians, including six children. The report also documents 73 civilians, including 28 children and three women, killed at the hands of other parties.

The report records that among the victims were four of the medical personnel, all killed in attacks launched by Assad regime militias, while one member of the Civil Defense personnel was killed as a result of a Russian air attack.

According to the report, the SNHR’s working team documented at least 14 people died due to torture in May; 11 of these victims died at the hands of Assad regime, two at the hands of SDF, and one at the hands of other parties.

The report also documents 12 massacres in May, using the term ‘massacre’ to refer to an attack that caused the death of at least five peaceful individuals in the same incident. According to this definition, the report records nine massacres committed by Assad regime militias, two by Russian occupation forces, and one massacre committed by SDF.

The report stresses that the Assad regime has violated international humanitarian law and customary law, and all UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 2139, resolution 2042, and resolution 2254, all without any accountability.

The report notes that there is no record of any warnings being issued by the Assad regime or Russian forces prior to any attack in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law. This has been the case since the beginning of the popular uprising for freedom, providing another blatant demonstration of these militias and forces’ total disregard for the lives of civilians in Syria.

The report also requests that all relevant United Nations agencies make greater efforts to provide food, medical and humanitarian assistance in areas where fighting has ceased, and in internally displaced persons camps, and to follow up with those States that have pledged voluntary contributions.

The report calls for the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after all political channels have proved fruitless through all agreements, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and implement the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.

The report calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations into the cases included in this report and previous reports, and confirms the SNHR’s willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data.

The report also calls on the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria to condemn the perpetrators of crimes and massacres and those who were primarily responsible for dooming the de-escalation agreements to failure, to re-sequence the peace process so that it can resume its natural course despite Russia’s attempts to divert and distort it, and to empower the Constitutional Commission prior to the establishment of a transitional government.

The report emphasizes that the Russian regime must launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, and hold the people involved accountable, as well as demanding that the Russian regime, as a guarantor party in Astana talks, should stop thwarting de-escalation agreements.

The report also stresses that the Assad regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, as well as ending the acts of torture that have caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian citizens in detention centers, and complying with UN Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law.

The report also calls on the International Coalition forces to acknowledge that some of their bombing operations have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, and demands that the coalition launch serious investigations, as well as compensating and apologizing to the victims and all those affected.

The report stresses that the states supporting the SDF should apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns under their control, adding that all forms of support, military and all others, should be ceased.

The report calls on the Armed Opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all areas under their control, and urges them to investigate incidents that have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as calling on them to take care to distinguish between civilians and military targets and to cease any indiscriminate attacks.

Lastly, the report stresses the need for international organizations to develop urgent operational plans to secure decent shelter for internally displaced persons.

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