The United Nations believes that Russia and Turkey’s actions during war in Syria may be qualified as war crimes, Reuters reported. The U.N. investigators have presented a special Syrian report on Monday, which includes dangerous statistics for both Moscow and Ankara.
A report by a U.N. commission found that Russia conducted airstrikes on a popular market and a camp for displaced people. That intentional action of the Syrian government’s main ally killed dozens of civilians in July and August.
An airstrike in the city of Maarat al-Numan on July 22 when at least 43 civilians were killed. Two residential buildings and 25 shops were destroyed after at least two Russian planes left Hmeimim air base and circled the area, report said.
“In both incidents, the Russian Air Force did not direct the attacks at a specific military objective, amounting to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas,” the report reads.
Paulo Pinheiro, the UN commission’s chairman, said a report included names linked to the latest crimes to its confidential list of suspected perpetrators.
During the investigation, the UN has received 200 requests from judicial authorities worldwide for information on crimes committed during Syria’s nine-year war, he told a news briefing.
Turkish and Russian troops may have committed war crimes
The recently presented UN report also described abuses by rebels allied to Turkey during an assault on Kurdish-held zones. As the document says, if the militants were acting under the control of Turkish troops, those commanders may be liable for war crimes.
In the report, which covered the period from July 2019 to February 2020, investigators denounced “deliberate” attacks by the Syrian government and allied forces on protected civilian sites, including hospitals and schools.
“There is a war crime of intentionally terrorizing a population to force it to move. We are seeing that picture emerging very clearly for example in Idlib where, because these places are being bombed, people are having to move out,” said panel member Hanny Megally.
Russian-backed Assad army has thrust deep into Idlib province in the far northwest in a campaign to retake the last country’s significant rebel pocket. The onslaught has forced around one million civilians to flee.
The UN report on Syrian war also called on Turkey to investigate whether it was responsible for an airstrike on a civilian convoy near Ras al Ain that killed 11 people last October. Turkey has denied a role in the strike, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said was conducted by Turkish aircraft.