Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province that amount to war crimes, UN investigators said on Tuesday in a report that also condemned attacks by militants.
They said that “indiscriminate bombardment” by pro-government forces, ahead of a March ceasefire brokered with Turkey, claimed hundreds of lives and forced one million civilians to flee, which may amount to a crime against humanity.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), anextremist group that controls part of northwest Syria, of firing artillery into civilian areas “with no apparent legitimate military objective.”
Men inspect the rubble of a hospital that was reportedly hit by a reported air strike in the Syrian village of Shinan, about 30 kilometres south of Idlib in the northwestern Idlib province, on November 6, 2019.
Fighters from HTS, a group formerly known as Nusra Front, have tortured and executed detainees, it added.
“All sides likely committed war crimes,” Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN panel, told a news briefing.
“Children were shelled at school, parents were shelled at the market, patients were shelled at the hospital. Entire families were bombarded, even while fleeing these attacks.”