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Syria: today's Damascus University mortar attack showed 'callous disregard' for civilians

Amnesty International has described the mortar attack on Damascus University earlier today as a serious violation of the laws of war which showed a “callous” disregard for civilians in the area.

The attack on the Architecture Faculty of Damascus University, located in a government-controlled area of the capital, reportedly killed 15 people and injured many more. It came amid escalating fighting in the locality in recent days.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said:

“Mortars are completely inappropriate for use in civilian areas.

“Even if the intended target was a military objective, the choice of mortars to attack a target in proximity to civilians displays a callous disregard for their fate and the rules of international humanitarian law.

“Although an armed opposition group in recent days has reportedly warned civilians to evacuate some areas in Damascus ahead of planned attacks, that does not absolve them from their responsibility to minimise harm to civilians. If it appears that an attack is likely to be indiscriminate or disproportionate, it must be cancelled immediately.
“All sides must abide by international humanitarian law and avoid attacks which indiscriminately kill and injure civilians.

“States which have pledged to provide arms for the opposition have a responsibility to ensure such arms are not subsequently used to violate international humanitarian law.”

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