September 12, 2019 - 10:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes may have committed war crimes while targeting medical facilities, schools, markets and farmland in an ongoing deadly campaign in northwestern Syria, UN investigators say, according to Al Jazeera.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also said on Wednesday, September 11 that Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate fighting government forces in the northwestern province of Idlib, fired rockets indiscriminately and killed civilians.
Syrian forces carried out repeated air raids in Saraqib in Idlib on March 9, damaging Al-Hayat women's and children's hospital despite being aware of its coordinates, the report said.
In Idlib on May 14, "pro-government forces air-dropped between two and four missiles on a fish market and primary school for girls in Jisr al-Shughour", killing at least eight civilians, it said.
The Syrian army denies it targets civilians and says its forces only bomb fighters associated with "terrorists".
In late April, Syrian forces, backed by Russia since 2015, began an offensive in the region in an attempt to capture the strategic area, which lies on a key highway connecting the capital, Damascus, with the northern city of Aleppo.
Last week, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said her office tallied more than 1,000 civilian deaths in northern Syria over the last four months - the majority caused by air raids and ground attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces and their allies.
The UN also laid blame on the U.S.-led coalition that has been battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) in the country.
It said coalition air raids in Syria have killed and wounded many civilians, highlighting that precautions were ignored and war crimes may have been committed.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition air power in a fight to remove ISIL, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which include Kurdish fighters, retook the group's last major stronghold of Hajin in eastern Syria in late December.
The coalition's Al-Jazeera Storm operation resulted in a high number of civilian casualties, including in a series of attacks on January 3 in Sha'fah, south of Hajin, that killed 16 civilians including 12 children, the UN report said.