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The Syrian Regime Has Bombed the Areas Affected by the February 6 Earthquake 132 Times, including 29 Attacks that Targeted Areas Far from the Dividing Lines

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Five Civilians Killed, 42 Others Injured, and Seven Vital Facilities Damaged

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Press release: (Download the full report below)

The Hague – The Syrian Network for Human Rights today released a report entitled, ‘The Syrian Regime Has Bombed the Areas Affected by the February 6 Earthquake 132 Times, including 29 Attacks that Targeted Areas Far from the Dividing Lines’, in which it noted that five civilians were killed, 42 others injured, and seven vital facilities damaged in attacks launched by the Syrian regime in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The 8-page report notes that northwestern Syria was one of the regions worst affected by the earthquake on February 6, 2023. This region houses the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria, estimated at 3.2 million in total, 75 percent of them women and children, who fled there from across Syria, in the hopes of escaping the brutal onslaught by the Syrian regime and its allies, Iran and Russia. It is estimated that the proportion of IDPs who have returned to their original areas to date amounts to less than two percent of the total, even though some of these IDPs live only a few kilometers from their homes, all due to their fear of further violations by the Syrian regime. In fact, this has been the longest internal displacement in modern history, worsened by the violations against IDPs in areas where they sought shelter, and by the declining levels of international support. The report adds that SNHR has documented hundreds of deliberate attacks against civilians and vital infrastructure in the areas to which the IDPs fled seeking safety. Furthermore, the Syrian regime deliberately severed IDPs’ access to all basic services, including water and electricity, even while insisting that the same regime should be the sole recipient and distributor of all UN humanitarian assistance due to its control of the Syrian state, despite its shameful history of murderous violence and its deliberate obstruction of the delivery of aid supplied, as well as its blatant theft of the overwhelming majority of this aid. All of the aforementioned factors, the report stresses, have only led to an increase in the death toll caused by the February 6 earthquake in northwestern Syria, with the final figure for the total number of deaths caused directly as a result of the catastrophic natural disaster in the region of northwestern Syria rising to 4,191 Syrians.
The report adds that the earthquake also resulted in the further displacement of 160,000 Syrians, most of whom had already been displaced on at least one occasion previously and who were already grappling with horrendous living conditions. The multilayered suffering and trauma of Syrians in northwest Syria has been further intensified by the aftershocks still taking place as of this writing. Roughly 80 percent of residents in the region have had to leave their homes and spend nights in the open air in freezing conditions, for fear of further destruction to buildings from any potential aftershocks, which protracted their suffering amid already dire living conditions and psychological trauma.
Moreover, the report notes that ground-based attacks by Syrian regime forces and their allies against the region of northwestern Syria continued throughout the nine weeks following the earthquake, February 6 until April 10, 2023, with some of these carried out against camps housing earthquake victims who were displaced once again as a result. The report documents no fewer than 132 ground-based attacks by Syrian regime forces in this period, including 29 attacks targeting areas far from the dividing lines. The attacks resulted in the deaths of five civilians, including one child, and injured 42 others, in addition to seven attacks on vital civilian facilities, including one school, one medical dispensary, one mosque, and two popular markets, with the report providing details of the most notable attacks.
The report concludes that the Syrian regime has unequivocally violated Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2254, which call for ending indiscriminate attacks, as well as violating the rules of international humanitarian law on the distinction between civilians and combatants. Furthermore, the report adds, the regime has demonstrated an unfathomable and unparalleled level of inhumanity by bombing areas already devastated by the earthquake, even while the entire world, both governments and states, showed sympathy for the victims.
The report calls on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), adding that all those involved must be held accountable, and that the use of veto powers should be blocked in cases of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The report also calls for Imposing UN military and economic sanctions on the Syrian regime, especially on the heads of the regime who are involved in crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Additionally, the report calls on the UN and donor states to establish an international support platform to effectively and professionally coordinate humanitarian assistance in northwestern Syria. Such a body would act as an alternative option in addition to the UN, instead of relying fully and solely on the UN, with this reliance proven to be a failure in light of Russia’s extortion of the UN over the past 12 years.

Download the full report

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