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Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

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Re: Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:42 pm

Flagrant war crimes committed in Idlib

Syrian pro-government forces and their jihadist opponents flagrantly violated the laws of war during the battle for Idlib province, UN investigators say

Civilians endured "unfathomable suffering" when the Syrian military launched a campaign late last year to retake the area, according to a report.

They were subjected to indiscriminate air strikes and ground shelling, as well as arrests, torture and pillaging.

Hundreds of civilians were killed before a ceasefire was agreed in March.

Almost one million were displaced by the fighting and many were forced to live in dire conditions in overcrowded camps or open fields.

Now, the investigators warn, "a perfect storm is in the making" as the war-torn country faces both the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.

More than 380,000 people have been killed and 13.2 million others - half of Syria's pre-war population - have been displaced inside and outside the country since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.

The 29-page report released on Tuesday by the UN's independent commission of inquiry on Syria covers the period from November 2019 to June 2020.

It catalogues 52 "emblematic attacks" by all parties that led to civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure, including 47 attributed to pro-government forces.

The Syrian military and the allied Russian air force carried out attacks that "decimated civilian infrastructure, depopulated towns and villages, and claimed the lives of hundreds of Syrian women, men and children", investigators found.

Hospitals, schools, markets and homes in opposition-held areas were destroyed by air strikes and ground shelling, in acts the report says amounted to war crimes - the crimes of launching indiscriminate attacks, and deliberate attacks on protected objects.

The bombardment of the towns of Maarat al-Numan, Ariha, Atareb and Darat Izza foreseeably led to the mass displacement of civilians, which the report says may amount to the crimes against humanity of forcible transfer and murder.

The report accuses militants from the jihadist alliance that dominates the opposition stronghold - Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a UN-designated terrorist group - of detaining, torturing, and executing civilians expressing dissenting opinions.

HTS also pillaged the homes of displaced civilians and indiscriminately shelled densely populated government-held areas "with no apparent legitimate military objective", spreading terror among civilians living there, the investigators found.

"It is completely abhorrent that, after more than nine years, civilians continue to be indiscriminately attacked, or even targeted, while going about their daily lives," said the commission of inquiry's chairman, Paulo Pinheiro.

"What is clear from the military campaign is that pro-government forces and UN-designated terrorists flagrantly violated the laws of war and the rights of Syrian civilians."

The Syrian and Russian governments have denied committing war crimes.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53322857
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Re: Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

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Re: Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:31 pm

Idlib virus case raises fears for camps

A mainly rebel-held province in Western Kurdistan has confirmed its first coronavirus case, sparking fears of a devastating outbreak in crowded camps holding displaced people

A doctor contracted the virus at a hospital in a town in Idlib near the Turkish border, aid groups said.

They said the doctor was self-isolating and his contacts were being traced.

The hospital where the doctor worked has been closed, said a World Health Organization official in Turkey.

For months aid groups have issued stark warnings about the risks of a coronavirus outbreak in Western Kurdistan.

Last year, the Syrian government launched an offensive to retake Idlib - the last opposition-held province in the region - from jihadist forces.

Almost one million people have fled their homes in the area since last December, with many of them now living in overcrowded refugee camps with inadequate healthcare facilities and little clean water.

There are fears the virus will spread rapidly through these vulnerable populations, overwhelming an already ravaged healthcare system.

Around six million people in total are estimated to be internally displaced within Syria, where a civil war has been raging since 2011.

A fragile ceasefire is currently place in Idlib. International charity Save the Children says that the truce needs to hold if there is any chance of containing the disease.

"Now more than ever, guns need to remain silent, the ceasefire needs to hold and all efforts have to be geared towards the aid and health response," Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Syria response director, said.

She said the confirmation of the first case in Idlib was "a major blow to the millions of civilians - mainly women and children - living in this area".

Syria has officially recorded 372 cases of coronavirus, including 14 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US, which is tracking the pandemic.

But given the lack of testing, the number of infections and deaths are thought to be higher. As of 30 June, just 1,661 tests have been carried out in north-west Syria, according to Save the Children.

The charity said it understood there was only one testing facility in the region.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53358569
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Re: Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:59 pm

We face famine or virus:

Syria's displaced alarmed at aid impasse

After surviving months of bombardment, Nasr Sultan now fears his 10 children may starve or catch coronavirus as a divided UN holds up a renewal of cross-border humanitarian aid to rebel-held northwest Syria.

A UN Security Council resolution authorising aid deliveries through the Turkish border expired on Friday as Russia and China vetoed an extension.

The world body's failure to agree on a compromise formula has threatened humanitarian assistance to an estimated 2.8 million people who depend on such handouts.

Germany and Belgium are still working on an initiative to rescue the authorisation in place since 2014, with hopes of bringing it to a vote this weekend.

But regime-ally Russia is pushing for reduced access on the grounds of sovereignty, prompting outrage in northwest Syria's Idlib province, which this week recorded its first coronavirus cases.

In a crowded Idlib displacement camp, 45-year-old Nasr said life without aid would plunge into hunger many of those who had already lost their homes in Syria's nine-year war.

"We have abandoned our home, our land and our livelihoods. The aid they give us is all we have," he said from inside his tent near the town of Maaret Misrin.

"If the assistance is scrapped, we will face famine."

- 'Coronavirus will get us' -

The Idlib region, Syria's last major opposition bastion, is home to some three million people, nearly half of whom have been displaced from other regions.

Nasr's family fled their hometown in southern Idlib to safer areas near the border with Turkey after a regime offensive that displaced nearly a million people between December and March.

A truce has stemmed the Russia-backed campaign on Idlib, a region dominated by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a jihadist group led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, and their rebel allies.

Apart from food insecurity, Idlib has recorded at least three cases of COVID-19 since Thursday, sparking fears of a health catastrophe if the pandemic hits overcrowded displacement camps.

The confirmed cases are all medical personnel working in hospitals near the Turkish border.

"If medical assistance is not delivered to the camps, then we will be finished" said Nasr. "The coronavirus will get us."

Abed al-Salam Youssef, also displaced, said camp residents will be more vulnerable to the coronavirus if aid is halted, especially since many will have to venture out to seek food and work.

"How can we commit to confinement inside the camps if people can't even secure their basic daily needs without humanitarian assistance?" he asked.

"Most of the displaced rely entirely on monthly food baskets" distributed by aid groups to survive, Youssef added.

- 'Politicising' aid -

Save the Children also condemned the UN's failure so far to renew the authorisation for aid distribution to the displaced without having to pass through Damascus.

"The border crossings were the only meaningful way for vital humanitarian aid ... to reach families in northwest Syria," it said in a statement.

"If the border crossings are not reinstated, many families will not be able to eat, will not receive healthcare, and will not find shelter" said the charity's CEO, Inger Ashing.

European countries and the US want to maintain two crossings on the Turkish border -- at Bab al-Salama, which leads to the Aleppo region, and Bab al-Hawa, serving Idlib.

An alternative proposal submitted by Russia would keep only the Bab al-Hawa access point open, for one year.

Moscow says more than 85 percent of aid has been going through Bab al-Hawa and that Bab al-Salama can be closed.

In January, Moscow succeeded in reducing the crossing points from four to two, and in limiting the extension to six months.

The International Crisis Group accuses Russia of "politicising cross-border aid" to Syria and warns that the policy could backfire.

"Continuing to attempt to make a political point at the expense of the most vulnerable could drive Western states to revert to a pre-2014 modus operandi, bypass multilateral mechanisms and deliver aid directly to northern Syria," said its senior Syria analyst, Dareen Khalifa.

Standing in front of his tent in the Maaret Misrin camp, Abed al-Salam fears for the future.

Millions of Syrians will face "a huge catastrophe in front of the eyes of the world", he said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/11072020
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