Aleppo has seen intensified fighting over the past few months, as the government of Syria tries to bring the opposition forces down to their knees in order to retake the last cities under control of rebel fighters. The Syrian government has reported that in past few weeks, the rebels and opposition groups who it terms as terrorists for having links to various Islamists groups in the country, have been firing artillery shells and rockets over the civilians to portray that they are trying to break government siege.
There has already been a humanitarian crisis inside Aleppo and Syria as international aid agencies and the government cannot move convoys under rebel fire, and now rebels are killing civilians in an indiscriminate show of firepower. Over 50 civilians, half of them children, have died because of this shelling in government–held areas of Aleppo.
Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, Samah Hadid said, “The goal of breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo does not give armed opposition groups a license to flout the rules of international humanitarian law by bombarding civilian neighborhoods in government-held areas without distinction. Armed opposition groups have displayed a shocking disregard for civilian lives. Video footage shows they have used imprecise explosive weapons including mortars and Katyusha rockets, whose use in the vicinity of densely populated civilian areas flagrantly violates international humanitarian law.”
Many of the groups include fractions of Ahrar al-Sham, an extremist group aligned with Islamic State militants, which the United States isn’t reluctant to term as terrorist. other groups include fractions of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, who are aligned with global terrorist Al-Qaeda. Amnesty has a compelling reason to believe that these groups have also used chemical weapons against civilians in recent weeks. Samah Hadid said, “Chemical weapons are internationally banned and their use is a war crime. Such weapons cause immense suffering and health damage.”