The UN Commission of Inquiry slammed war crimes committed against civilians in Syria by US and allied forces, in a new report that describes how nine years of war has left some parts of the nation “near complete destruction.”
Civilians continue to “bear the brunt of hostilities” at the hands of all parties in the conflict, declares the report by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, published on Wednesday. However, it singles out the US-led international coalition for repeated and indiscriminate targeting of non-combatants.
“International coalition forces failed to employ the necessary precautions to discriminate adequately between military objectives and civilians,” the report states, warning that “launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases where such attacks are conducted recklessly.”
US and allied forces are blamed for “widespread destruction of towns and villages in [Deir ez-Zor] Governorate” and the resulting displacement of thousands, many of whom ended up in the notorious Al-Hol camp, where disease and abysmal conditions reign.
In addition to failing to take precautions to minimize harm to civilians, the report cites the “dire humanitarian conditions” suffered by populations caught between the “widespread corruption, extortion, lack of services and security, and abuse of power” by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, as well as other groups like the Levant Liberation Organization (also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate), which it accuses of deliberately terrorizing populations living under Syrian government control.
While Syrian government forces are also criticized for their choice of targets, accused of attacking medical facilities and other protected civilian infrastructure in Idlib, and failing to respect a demilitarized zone drawn up with Russia and Turkey, the US remains an uninvited guest in Syria, adding insult to the injuries inflicted by its military.
Another UN body, the Human Rights Commission, released a report last week eviscerating the US, UK, and France for their part in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting local forces since 2015. The UN HRC declared that aiding and abetting a war crime – by selling weapons a nation knows will be used in the commission of atrocities – is also a war crime.
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