AI: Syria forces guilty of crimes against humanity

Amnesty International on Aug. 1 published a report holding the Syrian government responsible for human rights violations in Aleppo that AI claims amount to crimes against humanity. “All-out repression: Purging dissent in Aleppo, Syria” documents how security forces and allied militias routinely used live fire against peaceful demonstrations in and around Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, killing and injuring protesters and bystanders. AI contends that, as the size and frequency of these anti-government protests in Aleppo increased in recent months, government forces employed “reckless and brutal use of force that inevitably led to peaceful demonstrators being killed and injured.” The report “details a wide range of systematic, state-directed violations including the deliberate targeting of peaceful protesters and activists, the hunting down of injured protesters, the routine use of torture, the targeting of medics providing life-saving emergency treatment to the wounded, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances.” AI further claims that arrested individuals were routinely tortured, threatened and intimidated while in detention, and reiterates its long-standing calls for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

From Jurist, Aug. 1. Used with permission.

  1. Obama authorizes covert aid to Syrian rebels?

    Reuters reports Aug. 1 President Obama has signed a secret order authorizing US support for rebels seeking to depose Bashar al-Assad and his government. Citing anonymous officials, the report says Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide assistance to the Syrian rebels.

    The news breaks as grisly video footage has emerged of Free Syrian Army fighters apparently massacring  a family of Assad supporters in Aleppo. Both sides have now been accused of summary executions in the battle for Aleppo.(WSJ, Aug. 1)

    The UN has meanwhile revisited the May 25 Houla massacre, which a preliminary investigation had blamed on the army and the pro-regime Shabiha militia. A new UN Human Rights Council commission has brought back inconclusive findings, saying that blame could not be definitively placed either on the regime or rebel forces—or on “foreign groups with unknown affiliation.” It should be noted that the inconclusive findings were largely du to the fact that the regime would not let invesigators anywhere near the massacre site. (LAT, June 27)