Minister responds to Amnesty report about the targeting of medical facilities an schools in Idlib – north east Syria – by Turkey and Russia and says it”provides useful further evidence of unlawful attacks by the Assad regime and Russia on civilian targets in Idlib” and demands “accountability for these crimes.”
Amnesty International’s report ‘Nowhere is safe for us: Unlawful attacks and mass displacement in north-west Syria’ details 18 cases where Syrian and/or Russian government forces targeted medical facilities and schools in Idlib, western Aleppo and north-western Hama.
They say that as a result, almost 1 million people (many of whom had already been displaced) were forced to flee.
The incidents documented in the report exemplify how Syrian and Russian forces continue to deliberately target civilians and civilian objects. These are serious violations of international humanitarian law. In addition to the immunity from attack deriving from their status as civilian objects or civilians, hospitals and other medical facilities, health workers and children are also subject to special protections during armed conflict.
The report calls on states to strongly support the continuation of the UN cross-border aid mechanism in north-west Syria and to increase financial assistance to humanitarian programmes in the region.
In a parliamentary reply today Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign Office says the report provides useful further evidence of unlawful attacks by the Assad regime and Russia on civilian targets in Idlib
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4325):
Question, Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Amnesty International’s Nowhere is safe for us: unlawful attacks and mass displacement in north-west Syria, published on 10 May; and what steps they intend to take in response. (HL4325)
Tabled on: 12 May 2020
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We assess that Amnesty International’s report provides useful further evidence of unlawful attacks by the Assad regime and Russia on civilian targets in Idlib. It therefore complements recent reports by the UN Commission of Inquiry and the UN Board of Inquiry. The UK continues to call for accountability for these crimes and for all parties, including the Assad regime and Russia, to respect the ceasefire in Idlib and to abide by International Humanitarian Law. We also continue to support those displaced by the recent offensive, as documented in the Amnesty International report. The Department for International Development has allocated at least £50 million to humanitarian organisations delivering aid cross-border from Turkey primarily into north-west Syria, in addition to the £118 million allocated for this purpose in financial year 2019/20.