Landmines Claim Around 27% of the Death Toll
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced in its monthly report released today that 67 civilians were killed in Syria in March 2022, including 20 children, three women, and seven individuals who died as a result of torture, with the report further noting that landmines claim around 27% of the death toll.
The 17-page report details the death toll of victims documented killed by the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in March 2022, particularly focusing on those victims killed under torture, and victims amongst medical personnel, detailing the most notable incidents. The report also provides details of the most notable work carried out by SNHR concerning the issue of extrajudicial killing.
The report draws upon the ongoing daily monitoring of news and developments, and on SNHR’s extensive network of relations with various sources, in addition to the analysis of a large number of photographs and videos.
As the report documents, extrajudicial killings in Syria continued throughout March, with the total number of victims reaching 67 civilians, including 19 children and three women, seven of whom, including one child, were killed at the hands of Syrian regime forces, with the victims distributed to Daraa, Idlib, Damascus Suburbs, Homs, and Hama governorates. Meanwhile, Syrian Democratic Forces killed five civilians, including three victims under torture, with the victims distributed to Aleppo, Deir Ez-Zour, and Raqqa governorates.
As the report reveals, 53 civilians, including 19 children and two women, were documented killed at the hands of other parties in March. The report adds that 18 civilians, including 12 children and one woman, were documented killed as a result of landmine explosions, bringing the death toll resulting from the explosion of landmines since the beginning of 2022, to 38 civilians, including 20 children and two women.
The report documents the deaths of 67 civilians, including 20 children and three women (adult female), killed at the hands of the parties to the conflict and the controlling forces in Syria in March 2022. This figure is broken down according to the perpetrators in each case, with seven of the civilian victims, including one child, killed at the hands of Syrian regime forces, and one woman killed at the hands of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham. In addition, SNHR also documented the death of one civilian killed at the hands of ISIS, while five civilians were killed at the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces personnel, and 53 civilians, including 19 children and two women, were killed at the hands of other parties.
As the report reveals, analysis of the data for this period shows that Daraa governorate saw the largest death toll compared to other Syrian governorates, accounting for 40% of the total death toll documented in March, followed by Deir Ez-Zour governorate with 21%, then Aleppo governorate with 16%.
The report reveals that among the victims was one medical worker who was killed as a result of gunfire whose source SNHR has been unable to identify.
The report further reveals that the SNHR team documented the deaths of seven individuals due to torture in March 2022; four of these victims died at the hands of Syrian regime forces, and three at the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces.
As the report notes, the evidence collected by SNHR indicates that some of the attacks documented in the report were deliberately directed against civilians and civilian objects. These attacks along with indiscriminate bombardment have resulted in the destruction of facilities and buildings. The report notes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crime of attacking civilians has been committed in many cases.
The report calls on the UN Security Council to take additional steps following its adoption of Resolution 2254, and stresses the importance of referring the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court, adding that all those involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes should be held accountable.
The report also requests that all relevant United Nations agencies make greater efforts to provide food, medical and humanitarian assistance in areas where fighting has ceased, and in internally displaced persons’ camps, and to follow up with those States that have pledged voluntary contributions.
The report calls for the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine (R2P) after all political channels have proved fruitless throughout all the agreements reached, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and to implement the norm of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.
The report further recommends that the international community should work to launch projects to create maps revealing the locations of landmines and cluster munitions in all Syrian governorates. This would facilitate the process of clearing them and educating the population about their locations.
The report additionally calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) to launch investigations into the cases included in this report and previous reports and confirms the SNHR’s willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data, as well as calling them on to focus on the issue of landmines and cluster munitions within the next report.
The report also stresses that the Syrian regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting of residential areas, hospitals, schools, and markets, as well as ending its acts of torture that have caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian citizens in detention centers, and comply with UN Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law.
The report stresses that the states supporting the SDF should cease all forms of support until the SDF commits itself to complying with the rules of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
Lastly, the report calls on all the parties to the conflict to provide detailed maps of the locations where they have planted landmines, especially civilian sites or areas near residential communities, as well as making several additional recommendations.