Michael Weiss reports: In a report released today on the recapture of East Aleppo by pro-Syrian government forces, the United Nations Human Rights Council concludes that the much-touted “evacuation” of civilians from the rebel-enclave last year was actually a “war crime of forced displacement” because it was carried out for strategic reasons rather than any regard for protecting non-combatants or for military necessity. The population transfer had in fact been overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The 37-page report, based on the work of a Commission of Inquiry, lays blame on both sides of the conflict for failing to take sufficient safeguards against against the loss of life or the destruction of vital infrastructure, although it finds that the Syrian and Russian air forces wrought a particularly devastating toll.
Warplanes targeted hospitals, bakeries and schools in a non-stop bombing campaign that lasted for months, beginning in September 2016. ”Approximately 300 people — including 96 children — were killed in the first four days of the offensive alone,” the report states. [Continue reading…]