329 Civilians Have Been Killed Between the Start of the ‘Ceasefire Agreement’ on March 6, 2020, and the End of July 2022
Press release: (Download the full report below)
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights issued a report today entitled “Russia’s Air Force Used Its Double-Tap Airstrike Strategy in Its Latest Attack on al Jadida Village in Idlib Suburbs”, in which it noted that 329 civilians have been killed between the start of the ‘ceasefire agreement’ on March 6, 2020, and the end of July 2022.
The 17-page report documents the airstrike launched by a fixed-wing warplane on the outskirts of al Jadida village in the western suburbs of Idlib on July 22, 2022. The report concludes that the warplane which carried out the attack was most likely Russian and that it carried out a double-tap airstrike. The report also provides the death toll of victims killed at the hands of the Russo-Syrian alliance forces between March 6, 2020, (the date on which the Turkish-Russian ceasefire agreement entered into force) and July 23, 2022. In addition, the report stresses that these brutal attacks on civilians are frequent, have not ceased, and take place without any accountability or attention.
As the report notes, the massacre documented took place only three days after the Tehran summit was held on July 19, 2022, which brought together the presidents of the guarantor states of the Astana Talks, in the Iranian capital, and at which they stressed the necessity to maintain calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib. The report adds that this fact further confirms the fact that there are no guarantees or pressures that can stop Russia or the Syrian regime from launching deliberate and deadly attacks aimed at killing civilians. Rather, these attacks have become lethal Russian ‘messages’, in which the Syrians, who have become hostages, are paying the price of regional and international inconsistencies.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, the SNHR’s Director, says:
“This horrific massacre proves once again that the Syrian people are mere hostages, and that their lives are viewed as a bargaining chip. Russia has not committed to any agreement to which it was a party, it is not interested in achieving any political transition, and it is still using the tactic of killing and blackmailing to maintain the current regime, regardless of the cost in terms of the losses of the Syrian people and the state.”
The report reveals that the attacks by Syrian-Russian alliance forces between March 6, 2020, and July 23, 2022, in northwest Syria resulted in the deaths of 329 civilians, including 114 children and 50 women (adult female), in addition to perpetrating 12 massacres; 233 of the victims, including 75 children and 34 women, were killed at the hands of Syrian regime forces, who perpetrated seven massacres, while Russian forces killed 96 civilians, including 39 children and 16 women, and perpetrated five massacres.
As the report reveals, the 12 massacres documented during this period resulted in the deaths of 81 civilians, including 33 children and 14 women (adult female). This means that nearly 59 percent of all the victims were women and children, a very high proportion, and a clear indication that civilian residents have been the specific targets in most of these massacres.
This report documents the details of the airstrike on the outskirts of al Jadida village in the western suburbs of Idlib, when fixed-wing warplanes carried out four raids on two locations on the outskirts of al Jadida village at around dawn on Friday, July 22, 2022. The raids resulted in the deaths of seven civilians, including four sibling children, (three females and one male), and injured 13 other civilians. The first attack, consisting of two air raids targeting an IDP shelter north of al Jadida village, resulted in the deaths of six civilians, including four children (three females and one male). This attack constitutes a massacre of civilians. Meanwhile, the second attack, in which two air raids targeted two houses south of the village, resulted in the death of one civilian.
The report stresses that Syrian and Russian forces have violated several rules of International Humanitarian Law, primarily by failing to discriminate between civilians and combatants or between civilian and military targets, instead bombing hospitals, schools, civilian centers and neighborhoods, with these violations amounting to war crimes. The Syrian and Russian regimes’ forces have also undoubtedly violated UN Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254 which demanded the cessation of indiscriminate attacks.
The report recommends that the UN Security Council must take additional steps following its adoption of Resolution 2254, which clearly insists that “all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such,” refer the Syrian issue to the International Criminal Court, and hold all those involved accountable, including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven. The report also recommends that the UN Secretary-General should condemn this brutal massacre in the strongest terms, should not ignore the premeditated killing of Syrian citizens, and should request that the Security Council take urgent action and hold an emergency meeting to ensure a ceasefire and to protect tens of thousands of displaced civilians, in addition to making several more recommendations.