HRW: Syrian regime ′deliberately′ targeting civilians with airstrikes | News | DW | 11.04.2013
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HRW: Syrian regime 'deliberately' targeting civilians with airstrikes

An NGO has accused the Syrian regime of killing thousands of civilians in "indiscriminate" airstrikes. Human Rights Watch has issued its lates report as the Syrian civil war enters its third year.

Some 4,300 Syrian civilians have been killed in air force bombings since July, according to a report published Thursday by the New York-based group. It claims that military fighter jets and helicopters have targeted areas under the control of opposition groups, who have want to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Human Rights Watch accused al-Assad's forces of "serious violations of international humanitarian law."

"The Syrian Air Force appears to have carried out indiscriminate air strikes with knowledge of their indiscriminate effect," the New York-based group said.

According to its report, al-Assad's forces were guilty of carrying out strikes against opposition fighters where there was a risk of harming the civilian population.

They had also targeted known civilian hubs, such as bakeries and hospitals.

The watch group based its death toll figures on interviews - conducted in Syria in late 2012 - with witnesses from areas, such as Aleppo, Idlib, Homs and Damascus, where much of the fighting has occurred. The investigators also experienced these "deliberate" airstrikes firsthand during visits to Syria, according to the report.

The report released Thursday coincided with a G8 summit in London, during which the Syrian opposition appealed to world leaders for weapons. The US and EU are currently providing them non-lethal assistance.

The Syrian civil war has claimed over 70,000 lives since fighting began and has caused more than 1 million civilians to flee into neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, according to the United Nations.

kms/rg (AP, AFP)

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