NATO: Attacks on Aleppo Are a Violation of International Law

Column: Simple criteria for ending the Syrian tragedy
Most of Aleppo is reduced to ruins, as Assad regime declares victory on the mountain of rubble and sculls his forces made. A man walks on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike on the rebel held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

NATO official called on Russia and Assad regime to stop the ongoing offensive on Aleppo after one week of the military operation, aiming at retrieving Aleppo from the rebels’ hands and ending the five-year crisis, killed about 450 civilians.

Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on Thursday it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on Monday. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.

Since 19 September, more than 450 civilians have been killed and more than 1700 injured in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said.

The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday that attacks on the Syrian city of Aleppo are “a blatant violation of international law”, and urged Russia to make “credible efforts” to restore the ceasefire. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the brutal violence on citizens in Aleppo and said that it “is completely unacceptable”.

According to Agence France-Presse, Stoltenberg said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers in Bratislava that “The appalling attacks are morally totally unacceptable” and are a “blatant violation of international law”.

Stoltenberg added, “I join the international calls on Russia to show credible efforts to restore the cessation of hostilities, to allow humanitarian aid into Aleppo and to create the conditions necessary for UN-led transition talks to resume”.

The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.

Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.