Syrian govt. targeting civilians: U.Syrian govt. targeting civilians: U.N.

Syrian government forces have dropped barrel bombs on Aleppo nearly daily this year, amounting to the war crime of targeting civilians, and insurgent shelling has caused mass casualties, U.N. investigators said on Tuesday.

Both the military and rebel groups, including Islamic State, have imposed sieges to “devastating effect,” depriving residents of food and medicine and leading to malnutrition and starvation, they said in their latest report. “The government’s campaign of shelling and aerial bombardment sits alongside the besieging of areas and the arrest and disappearance of predominantly fighting-age males from restive areas at its checkpoints,” Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. commission of inquiry, told the Human Rights Council.

“Shelling of civilian-inhabited areas by non-state armed groups - including but not limited to ISIS, Jabat al-Nusra and Jaysh Al-Islam - have terrorised men, women and children living in localities held by the government,” he said.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in the four-year conflict which 4 million refugees have fled.

This year, government planes and helicopters have bombarded areas of eastern Aleppo province. Its bombing of towns and cities in Deraa and Idlib had also intensified..



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