Syria + 3 more

Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014): Report of the Secretary-General (S/2014/696) [EN/AR]

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I. Introduction

1. This seventh report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014) and paragraph 10 of Security Council resolution 2165 (2014), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report, every 30 days, on the implementation of the resolutions by all parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.

2. The report covers the period from 19 August to 17 September 2014. The information contained in the report and the attached annex is based on the data available to the United Nations actors on the ground and reports from open sources and sources of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

II. Major developments

A. Political/military

3. Conflict and high levels of violence continued across the Syrian Arab Republic during the reporting period, particularly in the governorates of Aleppo, Hama,
Homs, Deir ez-Zor, Rif Dimashq, Damascus, Hasakeh, Idlib, Dar`a, Quneitra and Raqqa. Indiscriminate shelling and aerial attacks by government forces and indiscriminate shelling and attacks by armed opposition, extremist and designated terrorist groups continued to result in deaths of, injuries to and displacement of civilians. In its report of 22 August entitled “Updated statistical analysis of documentation of killings in the Syrian Arab Republic”, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) enumerated a list of 191,369 individuals reported killed between March 2011 and the end of April 2014. However, the data did not allow for a differentiation between combatants and non-combatants.

4. Air strikes, shelling and indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks by government forces continued on opposition-held areas, notably in Aleppo and Damascus governorates, resulting in a high number of civilian casualties. In Aleppo, government forces reportedly continued their campaign of barrel bomb attacks, which has been ongoing since mid-December 2013. OHCHR received reports that at least 55 civilians, including 17 children and 7 women, were killed as a result of such attacks between 19 August and 3 September. In Damascus governorate, government forces reportedly intensified attacks against the opposition-held areas of Joubar and several locations in eastern Ghouta. Reports indicate that Joubar was subjected to dozens of air raids and heavy shelling on 2 and 3 September, resulting in the death of at least 10 civilians, while aerial bombardment by government forces reported ly killed at least 120 people and injured hundreds of people in Douma (eastern Ghouta).

5. Dara, Hama and Idlib governorates have also been severely affected by indiscriminate attacks by government forces. For example, in Da ra governorate, an analysis by the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of satellite imagery collected on 5 September indicated ongoing bombardment of the city of Dar`a, most likely, in some instances, by barrel bombs. Possible damage is visible elsewhere in the city and is likely the result of conventional artillery, light air-dropped munitions or other causes. According to information gathered by OHCHR, on 30 August 2014, missile attacks by government forces on the city of Saraqib (Idlib), reportedly led to the death of at least 15 people, including 8 children and 4 women. Another reported missile attack by government forces, on 3 September, in the town of Naqir (Idlib), led to the death of five civilians. In Hama, 16 civilians were reportedly killed by shelling in Tal Khaznah.

6. Government forces also shelled and undertook airstrikes against ISIL positions in the northern and eastern parts of the country in an attempt to stop ISIL advancement towards government airbases in Rif Aleppo and Deir ez -Zor, Hasakeh and Raqqa governorates, resulting in civilian casualties. In Deir ez-Zor, government airstrikes reportedly hit a bus carrying civilians in the village of Shoula, killing at least 13 people, including 10 children. On 15 September, government airstrikes destroyed Siasyeh bridge in Deir ez-Zor city, cutting off access to an estimated 50,000 people.

7. Government-controlled cities and towns continued to be subject to indiscriminate mortar attacks, shelling and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices by armed opposition, extremist and designated terrorist groups, notably in Aleppo and Damascus governorates. For example, in Aleppo city, extensive shelling in the Khalideah residential and commercial area at the beginning of September resulted in the deaths of eight civilians, including women and children.

8. On 5 September, armed opposition groups took control of the Dokhanya and Ein Tarma suburbs of Damascus and engaged government forces in Midan and Zahira al-Jadida, located less than 2 km from the Old City. A similar operation took place in Teshrine district, north of Damascus. On 16 September, one of the main Islamic Front factions (Ajnad al-Sham) announced the beginning of a second phase of rocket attacks on the centre of Damascus. However, the data did not allow for a differentiation between combatants and non-combatants.