Rights group accuses Syria of striking hospitals, schools
A human rights group condemned Syria’s regime and its Russian allies Thursday for striking medical facilities and a school in opposition-held Idlib province with air and artillery strikes over the past month.
Stating that the Syrian regime continues to show utter disregard for the laws of war and the lives of civilians after eight years of war, Amnesty International said “a hospital, blood bank and other medical facilities as well as a bakery and a school” had been hit in Idlib.
Amnesty International is not the only rights group that reports on the Syrian regime’s violations. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, regime strikes since February on the northwestern province controlled by the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have left at least 170 civilians dead and displaced thousands of others.
“The Syrian government, with the support of Russia, is clearly resorting to the same unlawful military tactics which led to massive displacement, in some cases forced displacement,” it said in a report, which was based on witness testimonies backed up by “analysis of videos, open source information and satellite imagery.”
The U.N.-sponsored Astana talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey had established four de-escalation zones in the northwestern province of Idlib, north of the central city of Homs, the Eastern Ghouta area outside of Damascus and in the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra.
However, the partial cease-fire was short-lived as regime forces backed by Russia and Iran recaptured three of the areas through heavy bombardments, leaving Idlib as the last stronghold of the opposition. The Bashar Assad regime was signaling a grand offensive against Idlib, and it was feared this would cause a humanitarian catastrophe in the province, which is home to about 3.5 million Syrians, many of whom are internally displaced. On Sept. 17, 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed in Sochi to implement a demilitarized zone between opposition forces and regime forces, warding off the possible humanitarian disaster.
However, despite the Sochi agreement, attacks carried out by the Syrian regime and its backers in Idlib’s de-escalation zone are estimated to have killed at least 152 civilians and injured more than 445 others since the beginning of 2019.