Gaziantep, 2 June 2018
I am deeply concerned by the reported number of civilian casualties as a result of increasing indiscriminate attacks by armed opposition groups in Idleb and Hama governorates in recent weeks.
At least 24 civilians were killed and scores more were injured in six separate indiscriminate attacks in Idleb Governorate in May.
On 3 May, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated on the road between the opposition-held cities of Dana and Sarmada in northern Idleb, reportedly killing four civilians and injuring 10 other civilians.
On 16 May, an unidentified explosion hit two cars driving along an agricultural road near Mansura village in northwestern Hama Governorate, reportedly killing six civilians including one child and four women.
On 22 May, unidentified armed men on motorbikes reportedly opened fire on a bus transporting civilians from Government-held Aqrab village in south-western Hama to the adjacent Government-held village of Kafr Qadh, reportedly killing three civilian passengers and injuring seven others.
On 26 May, a VBIED detonated in a residential area in the city of Idleb, reportedly killing four civilians including two children and injuring scores of other.
On 31 May, an unidentified explosion hit and destroyed a three-storey building in the Al-Maydan neighbourhood in the opposition-held city of Ariha in southern Idleb Governorate, reportedly killing three children from the same family and injuring two other children and two civilian women.
I reiterate to all parties to this conflict that civilians must not be targeted. It is imperative that they strictly adhere to international humanitarian and human rights law. International humanitarian law requires that all feasible precautions must be taken to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. This entails applying the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives; proportionality; and precautions in attack. Respect for the right to life of civilians, including children, should be a foremost consideration. Not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes.
The civilian population of Idleb, including over one million internally displaced persons, have suffered indescribably through more than seven years of conflict. They have lost loved ones, including children, and their homes to the fighting in their neighborhoods. They must be protected from any further violence by all parties to the conflict.
For further information, please contact: David Swanson, Public Information Officer, OCHA Regional Office for the Syria Crisis, Amman, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +962 791 417 882
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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