Opposition attacks on west Aleppo a 'shocking disregard for civilian lives'

By agency reporter
November 1, 2016

The fierce offensive on western Aleppo city launched by armed opposition groups on 28 October 2016 has seen indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, Amnesty International has said.

Up to 48 people – including 17 children – have been killed in civilian areas of government-controlled western Aleppo since the offensive began, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights monitoring group.

Meanwhile, an alleged "toxic gas" attack took place in the al-Hamdaniyeh and al-Assad areas of western Aleppo yesterday, causing dozens of injuries, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.

Amnesty emphasised that indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas of the western side of the city cannot be justified as a way to break the government siege of eastern Aleppo that has sparked a humanitarian crisis.

Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International's Beirut office, said: "The goal of breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo does not give armed opposition groups a licence to flout the rules of international humanitarian law by bombarding civilian neighbourhoods in government-held areas without distinction.Armed opposition groups have displayed a shocking disregard for civilian lives.

"Video footage shows they have used imprecise explosive weapons - including mortars and Katyusha rockets - whose use in the vicinity of densely-populated civilian areas flagrantly violates international humanitarian law. Armed opposition groups must end all attacks that fail to distinguish between military targets and civilians.

"Chemical weapons are internationally banned and their use is a war crime. Such weapons cause immense suffering and health damage. Their use can never be justified and regardless of who is behind this attack all parties to the conflict must halt the use of all prohibited weapons of war."

* Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org.uk/


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