Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Amnesty documents war crimes committed by armed groups in Idleb and Aleppo

Amnesty International documented in new briefing that the armed groups operating in Aleppo, Idleb and surrounding areas in the north of Syria have carried out a “chilling” wave of torture, abductions and summary killings.

The briefing entitled “Torture was my punishment: Abductions, torture and summary killings under armed group rule in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria” offers a rare glimpse of what life is really like in areas under the control of armed groups.

“Some of [the armed groups] are believed to have the support of governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA despite evidence that they are committing violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war),” the Amnesty’s briefing said.

Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International Philip Luther said “In Aleppo and Idleb today, armed groups have free rein to commit war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law with impunity.”

“Many civilians live in constant fear of being abducted if they criticize the conduct of armed groups in power or fail to abide by the strict rules that some have imposed,” Luther added.

He called on the states backing the armed groups to “cease any transfer of arms or other support to groups implicated in committing war crimes and other gross violations.”

The Amnesty’s briefing features abuses committed by five armed groups which have exercised control over parts of the provinces of Aleppo and Idleb, including “Nour al-Dine Zinki Movement”, “al-Shamia Front” and “Division 16”, which joined the “Aleppo Conquest coalition” of armed groups (also known as Fatah Halab) in 2015. They also include Jabhat al-Nusra and the “Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement” in Idleb, which both joined the “Army of Conquest coalition”, similarly in 2015.”

Amnesty also documented summary killings by gunfire, some in public, of “pro-government fighters”.

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