A snapshot of Aleppo's devastation
"Yousef (7), Mohammed (5), Ali (2), Hamza (12), Zahra (10), Husna (8), Fatima (10), Ahmad (7), Abdel Karim (2), Hassan (18 months)… Why did they bomb here? … There were only civilians here. Our quarter was full of life, children playing everywhere. Now we are all dead, even those of us who are alive are dead inside, we have all been buried under this rubble"
Hussein al-Saghir (15), whose relatives were killed in a ballistic missile stike in the Jabal Badro district on 18 February this year
Over the past nine months, our colleagues at Amnesty USA's Science for Human Rights programme and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have been poring over satellite imagery of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, documenting destruction in residential areas and in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Ancient city of Aleppo.
You can read the full report and damage assessment from the AAAS here, including details of over a thousand roadblocks, the use of tanks, and damage to hundreds of buildings.
The most visible and shocking signs of the damage in the satellite imagery come from three ballistic missile strikes launched by Syrian government forces between 18 and 22 February - huge scars in the residential landscape in each image in the interactive map above. These three strikes alone killed more than 160 residents and destroyed scores of homes.
The consequences of international paralysis
As my Amnesty USA colleague Christoph points out in his very detailed blog, research in the field and testimony (including that gathered by our researchers like Donatella), satellite images, and citizen video combine to paint a grim picture of Aleppo, and clearly suggest ongoing war crimes. You can explore Christoph's findings in this interactive timeline.
Validating human rights abuses
In addition to the satellite images above, the AAAS have released a new Google Earth layer - effectively updating the map of Aleppo from October 2011 to as recent as May 2013. Why is this relevant? As the landscape changes due to heavy fighting and bombardment, it becomes harder to verify citizen journalism coming out of Syria. This update could make it much easier to confirm human rights evidence quickly - should it ever be needed for the International Criminal Court.
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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.