The fierce offensive on western Aleppo city launched by armed opposition groups on 28 October has been marked by indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas that cannot be justified as a way to break the relentless siege that has sparked a humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo, Amnesty International said.
Up to 48 people including 17 children have been killed in civilian areas of government-controlled western Aleppo since the offensive began, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
“The goal of breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo does not give armed opposition groups a license to flout the rules of international humanitarian law by bombarding civilian neighbourhoods in government-held areas without distinction,” said Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.
“Armed opposition groups have displayed a shocking disregard for civilian lives. Video footage shows they have used imprecise explosive weapons including mortars and Katyusha rockets, whose use in the vicinity of densely populated civilian areas flagrantly violates international humanitarian law. Armed opposition groups must end all attacks that fail to distinguish between military targets and civilians.”
On 30 October an alleged “toxic gas” attack took place in al-Hamdaniyeh and al-Assad areas of western Aleppo causing dozens of injuries according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.
“Chemical weapons are internationally banned and their use is a war crime. Such weapons cause immense suffering and health damage. Their use can never be justified and regardless of who is behind this attack all parties to the conflict must halt the use of all prohibited weapons of war,” said Samah Hadid.