(New York) – Attacks by Syrian-Russian forces in an area near the Damascus in late October and early November 2017 killed eight children and destroyed or damaged four schools, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks on Eastern Ghouta, 15 kilometres from the Syrian capital, resulted in the closing of schools, depriving many children in the besieged area of access to education.
Impunity for unlawful attacks and a deadly siege of Eastern Ghouta by government forces mean that children in the enclave are at grave risk. The Syrian government and affiliated militia are on the United Nations’ “list of shame” of parties responsible for serious violations of the rights of children in armed conflict.
“Syrian and Russian forces appear to view the lives of children in Eastern Ghouta as utterly disposable,” said Bill Van Esveld, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The UN Security Council should demand an immediate end to all unlawful attacks, not least those killing children and destroying schools, under threat of targeted sanctions against those responsible.”
Human Rights Watch spoke to nine witnesses in November and reviewed photographs, videos, and reports by Syrian human rights and media organizations of the school attacks. The attacks were apparently indiscriminate, in violation of the laws of war.