Syria: 'outrageous' attack on civilians in Idlib province condemned

At least 44 people - including children - killed in suspected Russian airstrike on town of Zardana

Victims were breaking the Ramadan fast and hit in what was reportedly a notorious ‘double-tap’ strike

Responding to reports that Russian aircraft carried out an attack in Idlib province last night killing at least 44 people, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

“This outrageous attack, the deadliest in Idlib so far this year, targeted the village of Zardana overnight while people were breaking the Ramadan fast. 

“Among those killed were at least six children, and the death toll is expected to rise as the wounded succumb to their injuries. Deliberately attacking civilians violates international humanitarian law and is a war crime. 

“We are deeply troubled by reports that this was a ‘double-tap’ strike, in which aircraft follow up on an initial attack with a second strike which generally hits rescue workers and others coming to the aid of casualties. These cruel attacks have happened time and again in Syria, and demonstrate utter disregard for the lives of civilians and for fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. 

“The area where this attack took place is part of a de-escalation zone agreed on by Russia, Iran and Turkey last year at peace talks in Astana. Russia and Syria must immediately end direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks. 

“There must be an independent investigation into this airstrike and those responsible for war crimes in Syria must be brought to justice.” 

Coalition attacks on Raqqa

Earlier this week, Amnesty published findings showing how US-led Coalition forces had killed hundreds of civilians - and injured thousands - in the Syrian city of Raqqa in the battle against the Islamic State armed group launched last year. In response, the Coalition claimed it made “rigorous efforts” to “destroy IS while minimising harm on civilian populations”.

Similarly, the UK’s senior military officer, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, has claimed the UK’s role in the attacks on Raqqa was “the most carefully planned air campaign in history”.

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