War crimes committed in Eastern Ghouta battle - UN - Whisper Eye

War crimes committed in Eastern Ghouta battle – UN

Syrian pro-government forces committed a crime against humanity and war crimes during their siege of the Eastern Ghouta region, UN investigators say.

A new report says troops caused serious mental and physical suffering to the rebel enclave’s residents by bombarding their homes and denying them food.

They also allegedly attacked protected objects like hospitals deliberately.

Rebel forces are accused of committing a war crime by indiscriminately shelling civilians in nearby Damascus.

But the investigators are still looking into whether chemical weapons were used in an attack in April on what was then the last rebel town in the Eastern Ghouta.

They said the evidence pointed to the use of chlorine in Douma, but that some people had exhibited symptoms more consistent with exposure to a nerve agent.

The US, UK and France have said they are confident the government used chemical weapons but it has accused them of “staging” the incident.

The five-year siege of the Eastern Ghouta, an agricultural region outside the capital where at least 265,000 civilians lived, was the longest in modern history.

It came to an end in April, after a two-month offensive by pro-government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, that decimated homes, markets, and hospitals and reportedly left more than 1,700 men, women and children dead.

The report published by the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday condemned the government’s method of warfare as “barbaric and medieval” and painted a graphic picture of the misery of civilians who lived there.

With power and water cut off, they resorted to burning plastic to generate electricity and dug hundreds of wells in the hope of finding clean water. As the bombardment intensified, they retreated to overcrowded basement shelters lacking toilets.

“It is completely abhorrent that besieged civilians were indiscriminately attacked, and systematically denied food and medicine,” said the chairman of the commission, Paulo Pinheiro.