Rights teams in Moscow have urged the Russians to take accountability for the abuses in Syria by releasing a uncommon and damning report on Friday on the nation’s position within the decade-old battle.
Launched to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the conflict, the report is the primary within the battle by Russian militants and seeks to make clear the victims of the nation’s army actions in Syria, a taboo topic for media pleasant to the Kremlin.
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Its findings are in stark distinction to the official Moscow narrative and President Vladimir Putin’s reward of the Russian army for its intervention in 2015 to root out “terrorists” and help Bashar al-Assad’s authorities.
Ready by Memorial, Russia’s main human rights group, and a number of other different organizations, the 198-page report options interviews with greater than 150 witnesses to occasions in Syria.
“The overwhelming majority of our interviewees don’t see Russia as a savior, however as a harmful overseas drive whose army and political intervention has helped to strengthen the conflict felony on the head of their nation,” the teams stated. .
“A number of the folks we interviewed revealed that they or their relations have been victims of Russian bombings.”
Comparability of Chechnya
The report, titled “A Devastating Decade: Violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Regulation within the Syrian Battle,” accuses Russia of abuses, together with the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, its help for using torture by the Assad authorities and its guilt in different conflict crimes.
“Based mostly on our interviews and the literature overview, there was a transparent sample of indiscriminate and focused assaults that didn’t match the presence of army targets,” the report stated.
“Lots of our witnesses insisted that usually residential areas, positioned removed from any army object, have been focused.”
“ Within the six months because the begin of the Russian bombing, there have been extra casualties than in two years of Syrian bombing ”
– girl from Homs, Syria, cited in report
Assad’s authorities has been accused of atrocities, together with focusing on civilians, utilizing chemical weapons and ravenous folks in besieged cities.
Activists additionally famous abuses by US-led forces that intervened in Syria, however stated a lot of the first-hand accounts associated to “abuses suffered by Syrian authorities forces and their households. allies, and armed opposition teams, together with terrorist teams “.
Memorial’s Oleg Orlov, chatting with reporters, in contrast Russia’s bombing of Syrian civilians to army techniques in Chechnya, the place Moscow waged two wars in opposition to the separatists within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s.
The report urged Moscow to conduct impartial investigations into the Russian army bombing in Syria and to pay compensation to the victims.
The authors, who labored on the examine for 2 years, have been unable to enter Syria and interviewed Syrians who had fled conflict in Lebanon, Turkey, Germany, Russia and elsewhere.
Testimony of chemical assaults
A lady from the al-Waer neighborhood within the metropolis of Homs, besieged between 2013 and 2016, informed the authors that Russia’s intervention emboldened Assad’s authorities.
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“Within the six months because the begin of the Russian bombing, there have been extra casualties than in two years of Syrian bombing,” stated the girl, who at one level weighed solely 33 kg.
Russia has denied that the Syrian authorities used chemical weapons in opposition to civilians and used its veto within the UN Safety Council to guard Damascus.
However Russian activists stated that they had gathered testimonies of assaults utilizing sarin and different chemical weapons.
“I noticed 30 youngsters mendacity useless with different folks nonetheless pouring water on them,” a surgeon from japanese Ghouta informed the authors. “I’ll always remember that scene.”
‘Bitter and ashamed’
One part of the report focuses on the therapy of refugees from the battle overseas, together with in Russia the place solely a handful of them have been granted asylum because the begin of the battle.
“ The Russian authorities has refused to grant standing or asylum to all however a handful of Syrians, regardless of Russia’s position of their pressured displacement ”
– A Report of the Devastating Decade
“The Russian authorities has refused to grant standing or asylum to all however a handful of Syrians, regardless of Russia’s position of their pressured displacement,” the report stated.
The activists stated they needed as many Russians as doable to learn their examine and “perceive their accountability for what is going on on their behalf in Syria.”
“We felt each bitter and ashamed of the way in which our Syrian interviewees understand the Russians,” they added.
Regardless of their efforts, Orlov stated human rights activists didn’t have a lot hope, AFP reported.
“I’m afraid that we should always not count on a severe response from Russian society,” he stated.