Civilian facilities are under Russian attack in Idlib, Syria

Russian military forces stand near an armored personnel carrier in Syria Russian military forces stand near an armored personnel carrier in Syria Delil Souleiman / AFP via GETTY IMAGES

17 December 2020

Syrian-Russian offensive in Idlib has been characterized by unlawful attacks showing disregard for civilians living in the area

On January the fifth 2020 at one p.m., a rocket was fired near the Khaled Bashir Halabieh primary school where 445 children were attending school. The explosion shattered the windows and damaged many neighbouring homes, killing 13 civilians and wounding another 25. Nevertheless, this is only one of the many attacks that have affected this area during the Syrian-Russian alliance offensive.

Indeed, in April 2019, the sixth year of the Russian involvement in the armed conflict in Syria, the Syrian government together with its Russian ally started 11-month military aggression to retake the Idlib governorate in northwest Syria. Idlib was one of the last areas occupied by anti-government forces and, according to the Human Rights Watch, to retake it the coalition conducted indiscriminate attacks from April 2019 to March 2020. Precisely, serious war-of-law violations characterized the 46 unlawful attacks in which hospitals, schools, homes and markets were hit by airstrikes and bombings. Syrian and Russian forces have justified their interventions with their aim to target terrorists. However, the most plausible explanation may be the will to deprive civilians of their means of subsistence to oblige them to flee from the area, since there were no fighters nor military bases in the proximity of this attack. 

Accordingly, these air and ground offensives on civilian objects and infrastructures have forced more than one million people to displace, seriously affecting their rights to health, food, housing and education. However, according to the Guardian, Syria and Russia have not been held accountable for these war violations in the UN investigation; besides, not only Syrian people are suffering from that but also the Russian one. Indeed, resources that Russia has allocated in the expensive military involvement are no longer addressed to the millions of Russian citizens living in poverty and who are struggling to satisfy basic needs.  


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Author: Eleonora Gonnelli; Editor: Benedetta Spizzichino

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