CAIRO - Revealing horrifying facts about indiscriminate killings in Syria, an international human rights group has accused the Syrian Air Force of repeatedly carrying out deliberate strikes against civilians in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
In village after village, we found a civilian population terrified by their country's own air force, Ole Solvang, a Human Rights Watch emergencies researcher who visited the sites and interviewed many of the victims and witnesses, said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
These illegal air strikes killed and injured many civilians and sowed a path of destruction, fear, and displacement.
The 80-page report titled, Death from the Skies: Deliberate and Indiscriminate Air Strikes on Civilians, detailed 59 unlawful attacks in northern Syria.
It is based on visits to 50 sites of government air strikes in opposition-controlled areas in Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia governorates, and more than 140 interviews with witnesses and victims.
The air strikes, listed by HRW, documented the death of at least 152 civilians.
Carrying on-site investigations and interviews, the international human rights group revealed information that indicated government forces deliberately targeting civilian bakeries.
Repeated aerial attacks on two hospitals in the areas HRW visited strongly suggest that the government also deliberately targeted these facilities.
In addition to the attacks on the bakeries and hospitals, the group concluded in 44 other cases that air strikes were unlawful under the laws of war.
Syrian forces used means and methods of warfare, such as unguided bombs dropped by high-flying helicopters, that under the circumstances could not distinguish between civilians and combatants, and thus were indiscriminate.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in two years of between Assad's security forces and opposition forces.
The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.
As the Syrian forces claim to be attacking opposition headquarters, HRW found no casualties among opposition fighters.
For example, a jet dropped two bombs on the town of Akhtarin in northern Aleppo at around 1 p.m. on November 7, 2012, destroying three houses and killing seven civilians, including five children. The strike injured another five children, all under 5.
It was tragic. The buildings had turned into a heap of rubble, a neighbor who rushed to the site after the attack told a HRW researcher who visited the area.
We started pulling people out using just our hands and shovels. A cupboard and a wall had fallen on the children.
They were still alive when we found them, but they died before we could take them to their uncle's house. There is no clinic or medical center here.
After two years of conflict, there is no end in sight to the conflict in Syria, which has divided world powers.
Russia and Shiite Iran support Assad, while the United States, along with some European and Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab nations back a fractured opposition.
Damascus and some of its opponents have said they will consider peace talks, but no meetings have been arranged.
HRW said that this report should galvanize international efforts to end deliberate, indiscriminate, and disproportionate air strikes and other attacks on civilians.
The Security Council, largely due to the Russian and Chinese veto, has failed to take any meaningful steps to help protect civilians in Syria, Solvang said.
But that should not stop concerned governments from stepping up their own efforts to press the Syrian government to end these violations.