12, Jan 2018 | CJP Team
According to an announcement from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has “condemned” the rise in civilian casualties in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta (near Damascus) “amid the recent escalation in airstrikes and ground-based attacks by Government forces and their allies”. Zeid said Eastern Ghouta has seen “a crippling siege,” resulting in “a humanitarian catastrophe,” and that “residential areas are being hit day and night by strikes from the ground and from the air, forcing civilians to hide in basements.” He added, “In Idlib, ground attacks and airstrikes have escalated as a rapidly-moving Government offensive gains momentum, jeopardizing the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilians”. According to the OHCHR announcement, released on January 10, 2018, information gathered by the UN Human Rights Office indicates that at least 85 civilians have died, with at least 183 being wounded, since December 31, 2017. Airstrikes also hit at least two medical facilities, putting one out of operation. Zeid said reports of civilian casualties in Eastern Ghouta from air strikes “suggest that attacking forces may be failing to abide by the international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions, raising concerns that war crimes may have been committed”.