Militant attacks in Aleppo may amount to war crimes: Amnesty

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 13 May 2016

Amnesty International says militants may have committed war crimes in the Syrian city of Aleppo through indiscriminate attacks, including with chemical weapons.

The Britain-based rights group said in a statement on Friday that it had collected evidence of the killing of dozens of civilians by indiscriminate shellfire on the Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood.

Armed groups "have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks - possibly including with chemical weapons - that have struck civilian homes, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians,” it said.

The rights body also said it is "calling on the (Persian) Gulf states, Turkey and others believed to be providing support to armed groups in Syria to immediately block the transfer of arms to armed groups."
The attacks "have displayed a shameful disregard for human life," which “may amount to war crimes,” the advocacy group's deputy Middle East director Magdalena Mughrabi said.

“By firing imprecise explosive weapons into civilian neighborhoods the armed groups attacking Sheikh Maqsoud are flagrantly flouting the principle of distinction between civilian and military targets, a cardinal rule of international humanitarian law."

Amnesty said evidence showed at least 83 civilians, including 30 children, were killed and 700 others wounded in the troubled area between February and April.

It said, “The international community must not turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence of war crimes by armed opposition groups in Syria."

Two of the armed groups attacking Sheikh Maqsoud - Ahrar al Sham and Jaysh al-Islam - have sent their own representatives to the UN-brokered negotiations over the Syria conflict in Geneva.

Other armed groups have approved other delegates to represent them at the talks.

On Tuesday, Britain, France, the US and Ukraine blocked Russia’s request to add Ahrar al Sham and Jaysh al-Islam to a UN terror blacklist and sideline them from the Syrian peace process.

A spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations said the designation "could have damaging consequences to the cessation just as we are trying to de-escalate the situation on the ground.”

On April 7, nearly two dozen people were killed and over 100 others injured in a chemical attack by Daesh terrorists against members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the region.

Videos posted online purportedly show yellow gas rising over Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in Aleppo, located some 355 kilometers (220 miles) north of the capital, Damascus.

In May, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) warned of “extremely worrying” signs that Daesh could be developing chemical weapons of its own. It said the Takfiri terrorist group might have already used them both in Iraq and Syria.

The Kurdish neighborhood in Aleppo has witnessed intense fighting. Turkey has frequently fired artillery shells at Kurdish fighters and bombed their positions in Aleppo.

Damascus has long been saying that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are funding and arming anti-Syria terrorist groups, including Daesh.

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