Syrian Airstrikes Labelled War Crimes

By Lindsey DeLorie,
International News Writer

On Feb. 15, missile attacks hit schools and hospitals, killing many civilians living in the area. Five hospitals and two schools were decimated by these air strikes, according to later reports.

As quoted by BBC News, the UN has stated that “Up to 50 people were killed in missile attacks on schools and hospitals in the region.”

As of now, no one has claimed responsibility for these attacks, although Turkey’s foreign ministry insinuated that Russia was to blame.

Both Turkey, France and the United States are labeling the attacks as war crimes.  The British Observatory of Human Rights claims it was Russian warplanes that targeted these areas filled with aid workers, children, and the wounded.

Russia has yet to comment on these accusations. According to UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon this is a serious breach of International Human Rights Law.  As quoted by CBS News, the Secretary-General stated that these attacks, “are further degrading an already devastated health care system and preventing access to education in Syria.”

The decision by the US, Turkey, and France to label the event as a war crimes has created additional strain on their relationship with Russia, as well as the Assad Regime.

These attacks come at a crucial time during the evolution of the Syrian Crisis.  Last week, world powers came together to discuss a selective truce to be implemented in Syria by the end of the week.  This truce would include a ceasefire and the allowance of humanitarian aid to be delivered to areas most heavily affected by the continual violence.

Russia has been supporting the Assad Regime, but claims to be attacking only the rebel groups that are labelled by the international community as terrorists.

According to International Human Rights law attacking civilians, patients, medical personnel, and medical facilities is forbidden during times of war and doing so is consider an illegal act of war.

The Syrian conflict has led to the displacement of over 11 million people, creating a serious refugee crisis that affects the entire international community. Those civilians that remain in the area have been subject to near constant attacks which have impacted all areas of their lives.

The five year civil war between four different groups backed by weapons from world powers has led to multiple humanitarian crises around the world, with no clear end in sight.

Angela Merkel supported an earlier call proposed by Turkey for the creation of a no fly zone over parts of Syria in order to ease some of the burden of those displaced by the violence; however, this has yet to be put into place.

As reported by the Guardian, hospital airstrikes came a day after Barack Obama made an announcement asking Moscow to halt its bombing campaign in the region.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 23rd print edition.

Contact Lindsey at
Lindsey.delorie@student.shu.edu

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