UN named involved in war crimes, all sides in the battle for Aleppo
It is noted in particular that the Syrian air force used ammunition with chlorine during the battle for the city.
GENEVA, 1 Mar. /TASS/. The actions that can be regarded as war crimes, were committed by all sides in the battle for Aleppo in July — December 2016. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the special report of the independent UN Commission to investigate human rights violations in Syria on the events.
“Fighting for control of Aleppo, was accompanied by unprecedented violence, all sides have committed war crimes leading to civilian casualties, the document says. — Residents East of Aleppo has been surrounded and cut off from food and medicine”.
Ammunition with chlorine
The report indicates that the Syrian air force used ammunition with chlorine during the battle for Aleppo.
“For 2016, the Syrian air force carried out air strikes using bombs with chlorine in Eastern Aleppo… Although the symptoms of poisoning by chlorine can be similar to the symptoms of poisoning substances blister agents, like mustard gas, it was found that chlorine is the most likely toxic substance in several cases,” the report said.
The document also notes that “there is no information to support allegations that Russian troops ever used chemical weapons in Syria.”
The Commission made its findings on the use of ammunition with chlorine on the basis of statements of witnesses who claimed to have experienced a characteristic smell, and testimonies of doctors who had assisted the victims with signs of suffocation.
The regular charges
Accusations of Damascus using chemical weapons put forward for the first time. The Syrian government categorically denies them.
Another initiative in this direction was the draft UN security Council resolution envisaging sanctions against the Syrian government over alleged cases of chemical weapons use
Russia and China on February 28 vetoed this project. As stated by the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Gennady Gatilov, it was not based on authentic information and facts.
The battle for Aleppo
In 2011 in Syria’s civil war began, the participants were loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces (Syrian Arab army), the formation of the opposition, the Kurdish forces and various Islamist terrorist groups.
The battle for Aleppo began in July 2012, when armed opposition forces United in the “free Syrian army”, managed to break into the city and establish control over a number of quarters.
Despite the air strikes of the Syrian air force and the assault by government forces, the city was divided into a Western part under the control of the Syrian army, and East held by rebels.
15 December 2016 Assad announced the release of Aleppo from terrorists.
The “human shield”
The report also said that the militants used civilians as human shields during fighting with government forces in the Eastern part of Aleppo.
“Some armed groups committed war crimes by preventing the distribution of humanitarian aid among those in the siege of the population in the areas under their control, to restrict the freedom of movement of civilians, used civilians as human shield and civilian infrastructure for military purposes, and also carried out arbitrary arrests,” reads the document.
Report on Aleppo
Report submitted to the 34th session of the UN Council on human rights in Geneva. Publication of the report came at the time of the inter-Syrian negotiations.
The report’s authors during its preparation interviewed 291 people. Interviews with residents of Aleppo and surrounding areas was conducted remotely. Interviews with some witnesses were held in Geneva. The Commission used the information submitted by the government of Syria and non-governmental organizations, as well as satellite images, photographs, videos and medical records.
As a result, the report notes, the Commission “has collected a trustworthy amount of information to come to a conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that named in the report, the incidents occurred exactly as described, and that the violations were committed by such parties”.
However, in some cases, the conclusions are accompanied by instructions that the evidence only “suggests” or “make a conclusion” on how the events unfolded and who is responsible for specific incidents.
Russia has repeatedly stressed that the actions of videoconferencing in the district of Aleppo were directed against terrorist groups, with attacks on civilian objects was not targeted, and the attacks against the occupied by terrorists of objects used precision-guided munitions.