ACHRS condemns all deliberate attacks on civilians by Syrian and Russian forces in northeast Syria. The international community stood in horror yesterday after receiving information that over 300 Syrian civilians were murdered. The United Nations human rights chief is in disbelief of the degree that fighting is surging in northwest Syria and believes the international community needs to establish a way to assist this new wave of refugees. Since the war in Syria started, the world has seen the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Attacks by the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, are largely responsible for the current humanitarian crisis due to intentional attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
During the airstrikes in recent days, Syrian and Russian forces attacked camps of displaced civilians, schools and hospitals. These deliberate attacks on civilian facilities violate internationals law and must be stopped by the international community. The area that was targeted in the northwest of Syria is known to be a rebel enclave fighting against the Assad regime. In the last three months, 900,000 people have been displaced due to the Assad regime’s attempt to eliminate all opposition against it. Those displaced during the cold winter months face the possibility of dying of exposure in in frozen, snowy camps. If no ceasefire agreement is reached soon, it is likely that many will die from extreme weather conditions. Reports from Syria indicate that seven children, including an infant, died from the freezing temperatures. To make matters worse, it is not easy for the United Nations or other bodies to facilitate relief efforts in the midst of fighting.
The battle of Idlib in northwest Syria has reached a new phase as Syrian and Russian forces are attempting to take control of the highways that link Latakia and Damascus to Aleppo. The northwestern area of Syria is home to the last pocket of rebels in the country and is the Assad regime’s last obstacle standing in the way of it gaining complete control. Assad has approached dealing with this rebel enclave with force, sending thousands of Syrians fleeing towards the Turkish border. The international community and neighboring countries must prepare for the Assad regime to continue to displace citizens as it fights against the northwestern rebels. Assad has already taken control of the other de-escalation zones agreed upon by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, in 2017. Idlib is the last de-escalation zone that hasn’t been captured by the regime.
ACHRS wonders what the future holds for Syria under the Assad dictatorship after the regime gains complete control. However, it is inevitable that the international community will continue to deal with severe human rights abuses for years to come with the Assad regime in power.