Civilians targeted by Syria air strikes - Human Rights Watch
The Syrian regime is carrying out indiscriminate and sometimes deliberate air strikes against civilians that have killed at least 4,300 people since last summer, a leading international rights group reported on Thursday.
In the report, 'Death from the Skies', Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that Syrian fighter jets have targeted hospitals, bakeries and breadlines in the north of the country. The New York-based group says its activists inspected 52 sites in north-western Syria, documenting 59 attacks by the Syrian Air Force that killed at least 152 people.
In the report, HRW claims that since last July, over 4,300 civilians across Syria have been killed in attacks by Assad's jets.
The report accuses the regime of violating international law, saying: "Individuals who commit serious violations of the laws of war willfully, that is intentionally or recklessly, are responsible for war crimes."
"Syrian government air strikes that have deliberately or indiscriminately killed civilians appear to be part of systematic and widespread attacks against the civilian population that Human Rights Watch previously found amount to crimes against humanity," it added.
HRW says measures by the United Nations, such as targeted sanctions, an arms embargo and the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court, are urgently needed.
It says the Syrian government's unlawful actions are behind many of the 70,000 deaths estimated by the UN to have resulted from the two-year-old conflict.