The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has released a report on the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the International Coalition’s intervention in Syria on Sep. 23, 2014. The report outlines the most notable attacks by International Coalition forces since the start of the intervention in Syria and the violations that resulted from those attacks, including killings and forced displacement.
The report notes that the past year saw a significant change in respect to eastern and northeastern Syria, as areas controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) have largely diminished in light of the heavy airstrikes by International Coalition forces, as well as the artillery and rocket shelling by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are primarily composed of the Kurdish Democratic Union forces with the backing of International Coalition forces.
The report stresses that the offensive by the International Coalition forces have resulted in violations of international humanitarian law, which also reflected on the Syrian community in those areas, while shedding light on the implications that might result from the fact that an ethnicity-based force with foreign connections has control of the stability and security of the Syrian community in the areas taken over by those forces in the wake of ISIS’s defeat.
The report adds that defeating ISIS involved violations that civilians bore the brunt of, as buildings, shops and infrastructure was destroyed to an immeasurable extent, while tens of thousands of residents have been displaced. Defeating ISIS will bear no actual significance as long as the essential aspects of this victory aren’t fulfilled by compensating those victims who must be returned to their houses and participate in the governing of their areas.
The report sheds light on the unlawful attacks carried out by International Coalition forces in Syria between Sep. 23, 2017, and Sep. 23, 2018, in addition to analyzing the data that contains violations perpetrated by International Coalition forces which were documented by SNHR between Sep. 23, 2014, and Sep. 23, 2018. The report draws upon a number of accounts, and two accounts were included in the report.
According to the report, during the first two years the International Coalition’ attacks were more accurate and caused fewer civilian deaths, as they mostly targeted military facilities and armories belonging to ISIS. The attacks that took place over the last two years’ attacks were more indiscriminate and saw a heavier use of artillery, which is known for having a lesser degree of accuracy. The report also records a limited use of white phosphorus munition in areas located far from frontlines.
Further, the report notes that the last two years saw a more explicit and growing support for the Kurdish Democratic Union forces despite them perpetrating wide patterns of violations, some of which constitute war crimes, particularly the crime of forced displacement, which was perpetrated on a basis of ethnicity. This support culminated during the battle for Raqqa governorate.
The report documents that 2,832 civilians were killed at the hands of International Coalition forces from the start of their military intervention in Syria until Sep. 23, 2018, including 861 children and 617 women. In addition, the report outlines a distribution of the deaths by year, as the third and fourth year saw the greatest portion of deaths. On the other hand, Raqqa saw the most deaths, followed by Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.