Russia: We can’t ignore violations by rebels and ISIS against Syrian Kurds

Flags of the Kurdish forces are seen in central Sheikh Maqsoud district in Aleppo, northern Syria. File photo

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – The Russian government on Friday said the crimes and abuses by Syrian rebels and ISIS against Kurdish civilians in the governorate of Aleppo cannot be ignored.

“We have taken note of the report by the human rights organisation Amnesty International, which sets out evidence of torture and mass executions committed by armed opposition fighters, including groups that received support and aid from the USA, in northern Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“We cannot ignore these shocking new reports, facts and evidence. Sadly, tragic reports of the same kind are coming now from the districts of Al-Bab and Al-Asliya, where ISIS fighters have captured 900 civilians, mostly Kurds, and are using them as a human shield and putting them to work building fortifications and so on,” Zakharova said.

Amnesty International has documented in a new report several violations of international law by Syrian opposition groups against Kurdish civilians in the district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo.

The rebel operations are headed by the Aleppo Conquest coalition, which is comprised of some 31 armed groups that co-ordinate attacks against Syrian government forces, ISIS and the Kurds in Aleppo governorate.

“These include attacks between February and April 2016 in which indiscriminate shelling and the use of improvised explosive weapons killed or injured approximately 800 civilians living in Sheikh Maqsoud, a [Kurdish] residential neighbourhood held by the People’s Protection Units,” Amnesty said.

“In Aleppo and Idlib today, armed groups have free rein to commit war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law with impunity. Shockingly, we have also documented armed groups using the same methods of torture that are routinely used by the Syrian government,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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