Russia behind hundreds of Aleppo ‘war crimes’, Syrian groups tell UN
Four Syrian organisations have said Russia bears ‘a high likelihood’ of responsibility for 304 attacks in Aleppo that violate international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.
In a letter to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the groups said the attacks resulted in 1,207 civilian deaths, including 380 children.
‘Evidence clearly indicates that Russia has committed or been complicit in war crimes in Syria,’ it said.
The letter is signed by the Syrian Civil Defence search-and-rescue group, also known as the White Helmets, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Independent Doctors Association and Violations Documentation Centre.
The groups told the commission they would be ‘honoured’ to provide ‘evidence, testimonials, and any other relevant information to assist your investigations and help the identification of suspected perpetrators’.
The letter was addressed to Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who chairs the independent commission that said in February war crimes were ‘rampant’ in Syria and the conflict had become ‘a multisided proxy war steered from abroad by an intricate network of alliances’.
The four organisations said ‘it is vital that the commission investigate thoroughly all credible allegations of Russian violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law’.
The 304 incidents they cited include 28 attacks against civilians including children; 101 in which children were killed; 42 using banned cluster munitions; 20 using incendiary weapons in populated areas; 51 on hospitals and medical centres; 18 on schools; and 21 on mosques.
Picture: United Nations staff and other supporters assemble on UN headquarters grounds, around a sculpture entitled ‘Non-Violence’, to show their solidarity with the people of Aleppo, Syria, on Thursday 15th December. A UN humanitarian aid coordinator for Syria says the United Nations has been locked out of an evacuation plan for embattled eastern Aleppo. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig).