No less than 34 Massacres in December 2016
SNHR has published its monthly report documenting the massacres perpetrated by the conflict parties for the month of December.
The report outlines the toll of the massacres perpetrated in 2016, where the report describes an incident as a massacre if it involved the killing of five peaceful individuals at the same time. Based on this definition, the report documents 486 massacres in 2016 including 249 at the hands of Syrian regime forces and 158 massacres by Russian forces, whereas 27 massacres were committed by ISIS, 16 by armed opposition factions, and 19 by international coalition forces in addition to 17 massacres by other parties.
According to the report, Syrian regime forces committed 66 massacres in Idlib, 61 massacres in Damascus suburbs, 41 in Aleppo, 25 in Deir Ez-Zour, 23 in Homs, 12 in Hama, 11 in Al Raqqa, nine in Daraa, and one in Al Hasaka, while Russian forces committed 94 massacres in Aleppo, 32 massacres in Idlib, 13 in Deir Ez-Zour, 10 in Al Raqqa, four in Homs, three in Al Hasaka, one in Hama, and one in Daraa. Additionally, ISIS committed eight massacres in Deir Ez-Zour, five in Al Raqqa, three in Homs, three in Al Hasaka, three in Latakia, two in Aleppo, two in Damascus suburbs, and one in Tartus. Armed opposition factions committed 15 massacres in Aleppo, and one in Damascus. International coalition forces committed 10 massacres in Al Raqqa, and nine in Aleppo. In addition, the report records nine massacres in Aleppo, two in Deir Ez-Zour, three in Daraa, and three in Al Hasaka by other parties.
The report breaks down the death toll of the massacres committed in 2016, where 2411 individuals including 754 children and 394 women were killed in the massacres committed by the Syrian regime forces, while 1889 individuals including 571 children and 267 women were killed in the massacres committed by Russian forces. Furthermore, the victims killed in the massacres committed by ISIS were 486 civilians including 64 children and 113 women, whereas 128 civilians including 59 children and 17 women were killed in the massacres committed by armed opposition factions. Victims killed in the international coalition forces’ massacres were 321 civilians including 132 children and 74 women. In addition, 182 individuals including 60 children and 38 were killed in massacres by other parties.
The report documents 34 massacres in December including 18 massacres by Syrian regime forces and eight massacres by Russian forces. Additionally, four massacres were committed by international coalition forces, and four massacres were committed by other parties.
According to the report, Syrian regime forces committed nine massacres in Idlib, three massacres in Damascus suburbs, two in Deir Ez-Zour, one in Aleppo, one in Homs, one in Daraa, and one in Hama, while Russian forces committed five massacres in Aleppo, two in Idlib, and one in Al Raqqa. Moreover, international coalition forces committed three massacres in Al Raqqa, and one in Aleppo. In addition, three massacres in Aleppo and one in Al Hasaka were committed by other parties.
The report notes that these massacres resulted in the killing of 393 individuals including 137 children and 61 women, meaning that 51% of the victims were women and children. This considerably huge percentage indicate that civilian residents were the target in most of these massacres.
The report breaks down the death toll of the massacres committed by December, where victims of the massacres by the Syrian regime were 215 individuals including 78 children and 36 women, while 99 individuals including 31 children and nine women were killed in the massacre committed by Russian forces. Additionally, 42 civilians including 12 children and eight women were killed in the massacres committed by international coalition forces. In addition, the report documents that 37 civilians including 16 children and eight women were killed in massacres by other parties.
The report affirms that the bombing cases, whether they were deliberate or indiscriminate, targeted armless civilians, thus, Syrian regime forces and Russian forces have violated the rules of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. Furthermore, these violations were perpetrated during a non-international armed conflict which amount to war crimes as all elements of a war crime have been fulfilled.
Moreover, these attacks, especially bombing, have resulted in collateral damage that involved casualties, injuries, and damages to civil objects. There are strong indicators that suggest that the damage was deeply severe compared to the estimated military benefit. In all of the cases, we couldn’t confirm that there were any military targets before or during these attacks.
Additionally, the magnitude of the massacres, their frequent pattern, the exaggerated use of strength, their military nature, the indiscriminate manner of the bombing, and the coordinated approach of these attacks must be based on high orders, and a state policy.
The report calls for referring the case in Syria to the International Criminal Court and stop the disrupting of the decisions that must be adopted by the Security Council against the Syrian government. This disruption is a wrong message to all dictatorships around the world and supports the culture of crime. Also, immediate sanctions must be imposed on all individuals involved in widespread human rights violations.
Moreover, the report calls for binding the Syrian government to allow all relief and human rights organizations to enter Syria as well as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and journalists and let them work without any obstructions.
The report emphasizes that all militias that are fighting with the Syrian government and have committed widespread massacres, such as Hezbollah, other Shiite brigades, National Defense Army, and “Shabiha”, must be listed on the international list of terrorist organizations.
Finally, the report calls for the implementation of “Responsibility to Protect” norm which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, in Syria as it is direly needed there.