Regime Military Aircraft Fired Missiles on Idlib Province in Syria

At least 49 civilians, including six children were found dead on Monday, 8th June, 2015 as a result of Syrian government airstrikes on a town in Idlibi province, the North West region of the country. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the raid hit a square in the town of Al-Janudiyah, which has been under the control of opposition forces. The town, where the regime military aircraft fired missiles, is a public square that  attracts many people who engaged in commercial activities.

Videos uploaded on YouTube by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights showed complete pandemonium as a result of the strikes – with the air thick with grey smoke and dust and the square scattered with the rubble of buildings and the body parts of victims. One video captured men picking through rubble next to the twisted metal of a mangled mini-bus as an older woman ran past gripping the hand of a child. The video also showed members of the local civil defence forces joining the rescue mission, and at least one bulldozer clearing rubble from the square.

Furthermore, it could be recalled that Al-Janudiyah has been under opposition control since 2013, but much of Idlib province has only recently fallen to a rebel alliance that includes Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. According to Beirut (AFP) Report, the alliance has swept through the province since seizing the provincial capital Idilib city on March 28 and since then it has overtaken the key strategic town of Jisral-Shughur as well as the largest military base in the province. The Syrian Military continues to wage war from the air, using both conventional air strikes and deadly barrel bombs such as containers packed with crude explosives and shrapnel- this has been criticized by Human Rights Groups as being indiscriminate.

In the course of the offensive fighting against opposition forces in Syria, it is very important to observe the international guides on armed conflicts in order to ensure adequate protection for citizens during armed conflicts. Using deadly barrel bombs during armed conflicts require proper analysis of their consequences on civilians especially children and women. There are a number of humanitarian laws, treaties and protocols as well as International Red Cross protocols on responsibilities to protect civilian during armed conflicts. In as much as the essence of such fighting is to restore security and achieve peace in the country, the protection of citizens should be prioritized during armed conflict.

Oyewole Oginni
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