Syrian Network for Human Rights

912 Civilians Killed in September 2017

Syrian-Russian Alliance Kills More Civilians than any other Party

SNHR has released its periodic death toll report for the month of September 2017 in which it documented the killing of 912 civilians at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria.

The report sheds light on the de-escalation zones agreement that went into effect on May 6, 2017, after it was announced at the end of the fourth round of negotiations that was held between Russian, Turkish, and Iranian representatives, who attended as the sponsoring states of Ankara Ceasefire Agreement. The agreement establishes four de-escalation zones that will see cessation of combat operation, and passage of humanitarian aids, while the IDPs are allowed to go back to these areas. The areas, as outlined by the agreement, are: Idlib governorate and the surrounding areas (parts of Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia governorates), northern Homs governorate, Eastern Ghouta, and parts of Daraa and al Quneitra governorates in the southern parts of Syria, provided that a special committee will accurately assign the borders of these areas at a later date.

The report also notes that an extensive round of talk that commenced in May 2017 in Amman, Jordan’s capital, between Russia, USA, and Jordan was followed by an announcement by the American and Russian presidents, on the sidelines of the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, that a ceasefire agreement has been reached in southwestern Syria – Daraa, Quneitra, and Suwayda governorates. The agreement went into force at 12:00 on Sunday July 9, 2017, and provided for the passage of humanitarian aids in addition to a ceasefire between the conflicting parties (Syrian regime forces and their allies on one side, and factions from the armed opposition on the other side). Also, the agreement specifies that maintaining security in this region is the Russian forces’ responsibility in coordination with the Americans and Jordanians.

The report notes that the included areas saw a relatively good drop in killing rates in relation to the past months since March 2011. This reflected on the civilians’ lives in most of the included areas, as patients were able to go to hospitals and medical points, and many children went back to school after their families prevented them out of fear for their lives in light of the repeated bombing that targeted schools, as well as hospitals. Markets became more active, and many infrastructure services were restored thanks to a number of maintenance campaigns. Nonetheless, breaches didn’t stop, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be most affected should the ceasefire go on, and in particular extrajudicial killing crimes and, more horrendously, deaths due to torture. This strongly asserts that there is a ceasefire of some sort on the table, but the crimes that the international community -especially the sponsoring parties- won’t see are still going on as nothing had happened.

The report records that September saw a rise in the numbers of civilian victims killed by the Syrian-Russian alliance forces to a rate that haven’t been recorded since the de-escalation agreement went into effect on May 6, 2017, as Syrian regime forces topped all other parties in terms of killing civilians in September, followed by Russian forces. On the other hand, international coalition’s death toll dropped to less than its half levels in last August. The Russian sponsor should commit to the negotiations and apply pressure on its Syrian and Iranian allies to cease all forms of killing, bombing, and torture to death inside detention centers. Also, detainees should be released, as this case hasn’t seen any mentionable progress at all.

The report records that 8,115 civilians have been killed from the start of 2017 until October at the hands of the parties to the conflict. Furthermore, the report outlines the death toll of September 2017, as the report says that 498 civilians were killed by Syrian regime forces, including 101 children (four children are killed every day on average) and 83 women (adult female). Additionally, among the victims were 33 civilians who died due to torture – two of them are women.

The report notes that forces we believe are Russian killed 207 civilians including 45 children and 31 women.

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