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New refugees arrive to Iraq in a week of violence in northeast Syria

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be..

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

For the fourth consecutive day, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has been receiving hundreds of refugees crossing the border into Iraq from northeast Syria. Refugees mainly come from towns in northern Syria – Kobani, Amoda and Qamishly and surrounding villages.

As of this morning, over 1,600 Syrian refugees have been transported from the border areas to Bardarash refugee camp, some 150 kilometres east of Syria-Iraq border. The site has been prepped to receive the latest arrivals fleeing the fighting in northern Syria.

Newly arrived refugees told our staff that it took them days to get to the border as they fled amid shelling and fighting. Most of the new arrivals are women, children and elderly. Their general physical condition appears to be good, but some required psychosocial support.

In support of the response led by local authorities, our teams and those of other aid agencies and partners have been working round the clock to transport refugees to the Bardarash camp and meet their immediate needs. Family tents are being pitched to provide shelter, water and sanitation systems have been put in place together with other basic facilities.

Upon arrival refugees are given hot meals, water, basic aid items including mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, jerrycans and other items. Medical teams with ambulances and a mobile medical unit are present to provide medical assistance if needed. Our teams are working with partners to provide services needed including pyscho-social support and protection services. The refugees are registered using biometric iris-scanning and their specific needs are assessed to determine what kind of assistance they may require.

Meanwhile in Syria, after a week of violence in countrys northeast, we and our partners have been able so far to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 60,000 newly displaced Syrians as well as to those forced to flee from one camp to another. Nearly 23,000 people have received core relief and winter items in the camps. UNHCR also provided same assistance to another 35,700 living in collective shelters and host communities.

The UN currently estimates some 166,000 people have been forced to flee their homes over the past seven days. Newly displaced families continue to seek shelter in camps, makeshift sites, communal shelters, with family, friends or acquaintances. Many of them have been displaced multiple times from one area to another in Al-Hassakeh, Tal Tamer and Raqqa.

Where possible, UNHCR teams conduct protection assessments and our response continues. Our protection partners identify those in need of specialized care and attention every day.

Violence has wreaked chaos among civilians, hitting the most vulnerable hardest. Our teams reported story of a child, a 13 year-old boy from Ras-Al-Ain, who ran for his life amid intense fighting and got separated from his parents. He followed the crowds and reached one of the communal shelters in Al-Hassakeh where UNHCR outreach volunteers tirelessly went through communal shelters until they were able to reunite the boy with his family.

Given the new and significant humanitarian needs, UNHCR reiterates its calls for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. It is also critical that humanitarian workers are given unfettered humanitarian access to reach those newly displaced and assist them wherever this is required.

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The Most Notable Human Rights Violations as a Result of the Conflict in Syria in October 2019

Press release:
The SNHR released its monthly special report today, which documents the human rights ..

Press release:
The SNHR released its monthly special report today, which documents the human rights situation in Syria, outlining the most notable human rights violations that the SNHR documented in October 2019 at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria.
The 19-page report outlines the record of civilian victims documented in October who were killed by the main parties to the conflict, as well as the record of cases of arrests and enforced disappearance. The report also highlights indiscriminate attacks and the use of outlawed weapons (cluster munitions, chemical weapons, barrel bombs, incendiary weapons, nail missiles) and attacks on civilian objects.

The report includes records of these violations distributed according to each of the main perpetrator parties responsible. Accurately ascribing responsibility sometimes requires more time and investigation than usual, especially in the case of joint attacks. On some occasions, when we are unable to definitively assign responsibility for specific attacks to one particular party, as in the case of air strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes, Syrian-Iranian attacks, or attacks by Syrian Democratic Forces and International Coalition forces, we indicate that responsibility for these attacks is held jointly by the parties in question until we are able to likely establish which one of the parties was responsible, or its proved that the attack was a joint initiative carried out in coordination between the two parties. In addition, in cases where we are unable to definitively assign responsibility for a particular violation to one of two possible parties because of the areas proximity to the lines of engagement, the use of similar weapons, or other reasons, the incident is categorized among other parties until we have sufficient evidence to conclusively assign responsibility for the violation to one of the two parties.

The report draws upon the ongoing daily monitoring of news and developments, and on an extensive network of relations with various sources, in addition to analyzing a large number of photographs and videos.

The report documents in October the deaths of 171 civilians, including 28 children and 18 women (adult female), as well as two media workers, at the hands of the main perpetrator parties in Syria. It also documents the deaths of 27 individuals who died due to torture, and at least one massacre. The toll of victims mentioned above includes the civilian victims killed in the neighboring countries as a result of the conflict in Syria.

The report also documents at least 183 cases of arbitrary arrests, including six children, five women (adult female), at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria, with the largest number of these carried out by Syrian Regime forces in Damascus Suburbs governorate.

According to the report, at least 25 attacks on vital civilian facilities were recorded in October, of which six attacks were on schools, one was on a medical facility and three others were on places of worship.

The report details the record of indiscriminate and outlawed attacks documented in October, where Syrian Regime forces carried out three cluster munition attacks, targeting Idlib governorate, which resulted in the deaths of one child and one woman, and injured five civilians.

The report documents in October at least 117 barrel bombs dropped by Syrian regimes air force, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, on Latakia governorate.

The report reveals that the evidence we gathered indicates that attacks were directed against civilians and civilian objects. Syrian-Russian alliance forces committed various crimes of extrajudicial killings, arrest, torture, and enforced disappearance. In addition, the indiscriminate attacks they carried out caused the destruction of various facilities and other buildings. There are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crime of attacking civilians has been committed in many cases.

The report stresses that the Syrian government has violated international humanitarian law and customary law, and a number of UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 2139, resolution 2042 on the release of detainees, and resolution 2254, all without any accountability.

SNHR was unable to find any records of any warnings being issued by the Syrian Regime, or by Russian or International Coalition forces prior to any attack in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law. This has been the case since the beginning of the popular uprising in 2011, providing further blatant evidence of these forces total disregard for the lives of civilians in Syria.

According to the report, extremist Islamist groups carried out extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture. The report adds that the instances of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment carried out by the alliance of International Coalition forces and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are considered to be in clear violation of international humanitarian law, with indiscriminate killings amounting to war crimes.

The report calls on the UN Security Council to take additional steps following its adoption of Resolution 2254, and stresses the importance of referring the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court, adding that all those who are responsible should be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been repeatedly proven.
The report also calls on the Security Council to adopt a resolution banning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, similar to the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and to include advice on how to safely remove the remnants of such dangerous weapons.

The report also requests that all relevant United Nations agencies make greater efforts to provide food, medical and humanitarian assistance in areas where fighting has ceased, and in internally displaced persons camps, and to follow up with those States that have pledged voluntary contributions.

The report calls for the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect after all political channels have proved fruitless through all agreements, the Cessation of Hostilities statements, and Astana agreements that followed, stressing the need to resort to Chapter VII, and to implement the norm of the Responsibility to Protect, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly.

The report calls on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to launch investigations into the cases included in this report and previous reports, and confirms the SNHRs willingness to cooperate and provide further evidence and data.
The report also calls on the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria to condemn the perpetrators of crimes and massacres and those who were primarily responsible for dooming the de-escalation agreements, to reschedule the peace process so that it can resume its natural course despite Russias attempts to divert and distort it, and to empower the Constitutional Commission prior to the establishment of a transitional governing body.

The report emphasizes that the Russian regime must launch investigations into the incidents included in this report, make the findings of these investigations public for the Syrian people, and hold the individuals involved accountable, and demands that the Russian regime, as a guarantor party in Astana talks, should stop thwarting de-escalation agreements, achieve a breakthrough in the issue of detainees by revealing the fate of those forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime, and stop using cluster munitions and incendiary weapons.

The report also stresses that the Syrian regime must stop the indiscriminate shelling and targeting of residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets, and stop using prohibited munitions and barrel bombs, as well as ending the acts of torture that have caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian citizens in detention centers. The report adds that the Syrian Regime must also reveal the fate of 82,000 Syrian citizens previously arrested by the regimes own security apparatus, whose fate it has concealed to date, and comply with UN Security Council resolutions and customary humanitarian law.

The report also calls on the International Coalition forces to acknowledge that some of their bombing operations have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, and demands that the coalition launch serious investigations, as well as compensating and apologizing to the victims and all those affected.
The report stresses that the states supporting the SDF should apply pressure on these forces in order to compel them to cease all of their violations in all the areas and towns under their control, adding that all forms of support, military and all others, should be ceased unless the SDF stops all its violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
The report also notes that the SDF should form a special committee to investigate incidents of violations committed by SDF members, disclose the details of their findings and apologize for them, hold those responsible accountable, and compensate the victims and affected.

The report calls on the Operation Peace Spring alliance to investigate the incidents that resulted in civilian victims and to determine the causes behind them, to apologize for these, to compensate the victims and to hold those responsible accountable, as well as to work to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. The report adds that the committee established by the Defense Ministry of the Syrian Interim Government to investigate abuses and breaches should publish the findings of its investigations into violations on a dedicated website, update this data regularly, issue recommendations and follow up on their implementation.

The report also calls on the Armed Opposition factions to ensure the protection of civilians in all areas under their control, and urges them to investigate incidents that have resulted in civilian casualties, as well as calling on them to take care to distinguish between civilians and military targets and to cease any indiscriminate attacks.

Lastly, the report stresses the need for international organizations to develop urgent operational plans to secure decent shelter for internally displaced persons.,

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Continuing Israeli attacks in Gaza will result in more crimes against Palestinian civilians

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor is following with a great concern the military escalatio..

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor is following with a great concern the military escalation in the Gaza Strip, which broke out on Tuesday dawn after the Israeli army assassinated a military commander in the Gaza Strip.

We Hold the Israeli government responsible for the escalation of violence and see its move to carry out attacks in the Gaza Strip as a practical expression of impunity

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Our field teams monitored the Israeli Air Forces and artillery attacks on a dozen of areas in the Gaza Strip, killing (until 3:30 PM) 23 Palestinians, including civilians, and completely destroying 3 houses, as well as damaging dozens of houses and civilian facilities.

In parallel with the military offensive, the Israeli army closed all border crossings with the Gaza Strip and imposed an almost total ban on fishing, which means depriving the civilian population of basic supplies such as food, fuel and basic needs, in continuation of Israel’s policy of collective punishment against the Gaza Strip for more than 13 years.

The Euro-Med Monitor team documented the response of armed factions in the Gaza Strip by firing dozens of home-made grenades at Israeli communities near the border as well as in cities in central Israel, injuring dozens of Israelis, with the majority of them suffering from shocks.

We hold the Israeli government responsible for the escalation of violence and see its move to carry out attacks in the Gaza Strip as a practical expression of impunity, as the IDF has enjoyed impunity however it has a record of human rights violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

By monitoring the situation on the ground, we warn all parties of the gravity of the situation in the Gaza Strip, and call for a decisive intervention to stop the Israeli military offensive and prevent the development of an all-out offensive that could kill thousands of civilians.

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Yemen: Ongoing Fighting in Al Dhaela Province Triggers New Wave of Displacement

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