Aleppo (Photo credit: watchsmart)

New Syrian government air and missile strikes are causing high civilian casualties in opposition-controlled areas of Aleppo in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said. A Human Rights Watch team in northern Aleppo province has investigated recent attacks that killed scores of civilians and destroyed dozens of civilian homes without damaging any apparent opposition military targets, according to the organization.

At the same time the US is saying that finally there is some prove that Syria’s government is using chemical weapons in this war, a read line the Obama administration had marked to consider some kind of intervention. But then, there are voices that say that helping the opposition to the regime is like to help radical Islamists groups and “potential terrorists” that are fighting against Bashar Al Assad, and that is creating a lot of polemic in the US about what to do.

The information collected by Human Rights Watch shows that the Syrian government continues to use cluster bombs and indiscriminate methods of attack in populated areas, making the airstrikes unlawful.

“These attacks are serious violations of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. Those who order or carry out such violations with criminal intent – that is, deliberately or recklessly – are responsible for war crimes”, say HRW.

“In attack after attack in Aleppo it is only civilians and civilian homes that are hit by government airstrikes,” said Anna Neistat, associate program and emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian Air Force knows very well that using cluster bombs and raining down missiles and bombs indiscriminately on urban areas violates the laws of war.”

Human Rights Watch talks in a 80-pages report about  50 sites of government air strikes in opposition-controlled areas in Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia governorates that killed at least 152 civilians, all non related with rebel sites. According to a Syrian organization there were at least 355 civilian casualties from March 18 to April 22.

HRW is talking about cluster bombs and the US is talking about chemical weapons, but no matter the weaponry used the truth is that the government is killing civilians indiscriminately in its own Country and that is a war crime that has to be stopped. The problem is how.

It is important to find a way to stop this bloodshed without more civilian innocent lives lost. More violence over the same people is not the answer, but prolong the situation doing nothing but watching is also a cruel option for the millions of innocent civilians trapped in the war. At the moment diplomacy, the only civilized option has been proven useless. Syria is a Country in the middle of a too risky and complicated Region for the other potential players in a solution to compromise too much. There is a need of courage in the UN, the Western players and the Arab League to stop Al Assad from this bombing his own people in a war that is during too much time without any ending at sight and is creating a lot of uncertainty  in a very unstable Region.

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.


Dialog and diplomacy, Ethics, Ideals, Middle East, World and Politics


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