Human Rights Watch accuses Syrian rebels of war crimes for using human shields
Civilians and army soldiers were put in cages by rebels in Eastern Ghouta. (Twitter/Screenshot)
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Syrian rebels belonging to Jaish al-Islam were accused of war crimes by Human Rights Watch after a video emerged online of hostages including women being paraded in cages as “human shields” on the outskirts of Damascus, AFP reports.
Dozens of civilians and Syrian army soldiers were driven around neighborhoods in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus over the weekend.
The hostages are believed to have been placed in cages to prevent government bombing in the area, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“Nothing can justify caging people and intentionally putting them in harm’s way, even if the purpose is to stop indiscriminate government attacks,” Middle East director of HRW, Nadim Houry told AFP.
Eastern Ghouta has frequently been targeted by government airstrikes while it remains a rebel stronghold.
Over 250,00 Syrians have been killed in the country’s bloody four-year conflict.