Indiscriminate air bombardments and artillery strikes by Syrian security forces killed more than 160 people in Idlib and Hama in recent weeks, Amnesty International reports.
Amnesty International's senior crisis researcher, Donatella Rovera, visited 26 towns in northern Syria in the first half of September and collected testimonies of daily airstrikes and bombardments.
"In all the attacks that I have investigated I have not found that there was any obvious military target anywhere near the places where the strikes occurred. The victims are civilians," Rovera said.
She explained that the battlefield weapons and munitions used by the Syrian military against rebel forces are unable to aim at specific targets, which significantly increases the death toll among civilians.
Four children, Ghofran Habbous (four), her brother Mohamed (three) and their cousins Laith (18 months) and Qusai (11 years) were killed when their home was bombed on 14 August in the village of Shellakh (near Idlib). Another child, Qusai’s brother Ahmed, aged 14, sustained a broken hip and Ghofran and Mohamed’s father sustained multiple fractures and injuries. He told Amnesty International: “The children were downstairs, some sleeping and some playing, when an aircraft dropped a bomb on our home and the second floor collapsed onto the first floor, just where the children were. It was about 12.30 pm. This was the first time that the village was bombed from the air but since then there have been more bombardments. Today (9 September) the village was shelled at 2 am and again at about 2pm. Two strikes each time. I cannot move from my bed and every time there is another strike I am terrified for my little girl. I only have her left and I can’t do anything to protect her.”
Activists estimate more than 27,000 people have died since the start of the conflict in Syria in March 2012.
International peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said on Saturday that the crisis posed a global threat. "This crisis is deteriorating and represents a danger to the Syrian people, to the region, and to the whole world," Brahimi told reporters after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, according to Reuters.
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Demonstration in Aleppo, Syria, 25 May 2012. (Amnesty International)
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