HRW slams Syria rebels for 'human shields'

2015-11-03 15:47
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian rebel groups outside Damascus of war crimes after they placed hostages including civilians in cages for use as "human shields" to deter government strikes.

Video posted over the weekend showed dozens of captives, among them soldiers and civilians, in cages being transported to different parts of the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the powerful Jaish al-Islam group had placed the caged captives in public squares to deter government bombing.

Human Rights Watch said the practice "constitutes hostage-taking and an outrage against their personal dignity, which are both war crimes."

"Nothing can justify caging people and intentionally putting them in harm's way, even if the purpose is to stop indiscriminate government attacks," said HRW deputy Middle East director Nadim Houry.

Complex civil war

"Ending Syria's downward spiral requires international backers of armed groups as well as the government to make protecting civilians a top priority."

The rights group noted that a similar practice was reported in September, in two government-held Shiite towns under rebel siege in Idlib province.

There images emerged purporting to show captured rebels placed in a cage on a building in one of the villages to deter opposition shelling.

Eastern Ghouta is a rebel stronghold outside Damascus and a frequent target of heavy and bloody government air strikes and shelling.

At least 70 people were killed and 550 wounded in government attacks on Douma, in Eastern Ghouta, last week, according to non-governmental organisation Doctors Without Borders.

Rebels in the region regularly bombard the capital, and rights groups have condemned both sides for their indiscriminate fire.

More than 250 000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

All sides in the complex civil war have been accused of abuses of varying degrees, including the use of banned weapons, torture, arbitrary arrest and execution.

Read more on:    hrw  |  syria  |  syria conflic

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.