Thursday, March 15, 2012

Syria: Witnesses Describe Idlib Destruction, Killings

One Year On, Indiscriminate Attacks Inflicting Heavy Toll

Human Rights Watch
March 15, 2012

"(New York) – Accounts from witnesses reveal significant destruction and a large number of deaths and injuries of civilians in Syria’s bombardment of the city of Idlib, Human Rights Watch said today. On the anniversary of the Syrian uprising, Human Rights Watch urged Russia and China to agree to a UN Security Council resolution calling on Syria to halt the indiscriminate attacks on cities and demand access for humanitarian workers, journalists, and human rights monitors.

Idlib is the latest opposition stronghold to come under attack by the Syrian security forces attempting to rout the armed opposition. Syrian activists have compiled a list of 114 civilians killed since the current assault there, which began on March 10, 2012. Five witnesses, including three foreign correspondents, gave separate accounts to Human Rights Watch that government forces used large-caliber machine-guns, tanks, and mortars to fire indiscriminately at buildings and people in the street. After they entered Idlib, government forces detained people in house-to-house searches, looted buildings, and burned down houses, the witnesses said.

City after city, town after town, Syria’s security forces are using their scorched earth methods while the Security Council’s hands remain tied by Russia and China,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “One year on, the Security Council should finally stand together and send a clear message to Assad that these attacks should end.”

The attacks on Idlib follow months of atrocities that both the United Nation’s Commission of Inquiry and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have described as crimes against humanity....."

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