8300 civilians are in immense danger

Daraya, July 21st 2016

Five thousand women and children are in immense danger in the city of Daraya, they are part of the 8,300 civilians left in the city according to the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC). In January 26th 2016 the Syrian government armed forces managed to complete the siege on the city extending by this the systematic deprivation of food, medicine and resources, forced on the city since 2012. Evidence based on direct testimonies, Darya local council, and VDC’s documentation members on the ground, show that the Syrian government uses the siege as a mean to penalize civilians in the areas outside its control.

Daraya is 30 square Kilometre and in 2007 used to be the home for more than 250 thousand people, now 90% of all the buildings and infrastructure in the city has been completely ruined with little over 8000 civilians left in the city. After much pressure from the international community, in June this year, the UN finally managed to enter Daraya for the first time since 2012. With only 14 trucks, half full, containing 480 food parcels, fewer medicine and medical kits, and other materials. To people’s dismay, the Syrian jet-fighters, within less than ten hours, attacked the city with 23 barrel-bombs targeting the wheat fields (Video). This indicate the clear Syrian government direction to enforce the siege any not allowing any relief to enter the city. And regardless of the ceasefire in Syria that took effect on February 27 – as part of a negotiated deal, based on the United Nations Security CouncilResolution 2254 in December 2015- between May 12th and May 25th, VDC with Darya local council was able to document 60 missiles, 508 mortar shell launched from the government armed forces on Daraya.

VDC condemns penalizing civilians by the Syrian government and “The use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare” which, in addition to the killing, now puts the lives of more than eight thousand at immense danger and inhuman condition. This is a clear human rights violation and the siege with its systematic deprivation amounts to war crimes.

VDC appeals to all humanitarian and relief organizations, world governments, and the United Nations to pressure the Syrian government in order to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 and  2254 to ease the aid delivery to Syrians, insure the respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights, and provide safe passages for civilians in the city.

(Violations Documentation Center In Syria / 24.07.2016)

Human Rights Activist Abdullah Al-Khateeb Survives an Assassination Attempt in Damascus

Syrian Palestinian human rights activists Abdullah Al-Khateeb Survives an Assassination Attempt in Damascus with one shot in his chest

Malmo – Sweden and Damascus – Syria

23ed of July 2016

On the evening of Friday July 22, 2016, prominent Syrian-Palestinian human rights activist Abdallah Al-Khateeb, who has long been under threat for his civil society activities, survived an assassination attempt that left him severely injured with at least one critical injury in his chest.

This last threat is one of many attacks against Khateeb, as documented by Front Line Defenders in 2015.

Khateeb has also been on the hit list of the Islamic State since April 2015, when the radical group occupied Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees, 8 kilometres south of Damascus. In recent months the group blatantly and openly called for his death due to his activism.

Since the Islamic State’s takeover of Yarmouk in 2015, Khateeb relocated to the besieged neighborhood of Yalda where, supposedly, neither the Islamic State nor the Syrian regime has any presence. However, in the light of the recent attempt on his life, the Palestinian League for Human Rights – Syria has well-grounded fears that our colleague will not be safe anymore in Syria.

In March 2015, Khateeb narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt following the assassination of one of his colleagues inside his house five weeks earlier.

Abdullah’s activism

Khateeb, 26, was a co-founder of the Palestinian League for Human Rights in Syria documenting violations of all parties against Palestinian refugees in Syria. Moreover, he was an instrumental member of the Basmeh Social Foundation, which contributed to urban farming projects to counter the siege of the regimein the camp. As a community organiser for farming projects, Khateeb with others supported residents and activists to close the nutritional gap created by the siege. The siege resulted in the tragic deaths of more than 190 people due to starvation until March 2014 according to a report by Amnesty International to which Al-Khateeb’s group, PLHR, contributed. Additionally, Khateeb deliveredinformation to numerous human rights publications about the impact of southern Damascus siege.

Khateeb was also involved in alternative education programs inside Yarmouk, offering children access to knowledge in the light of the absence of any functioning educational institutions. He was also involved in psychosocial support for children affected by the trauma of the prolonged clashes in and bombardment of Yarmouk.

After relocating to Yalda, he continued his engagement for education and human rights.

Human rights defenders in Syria are paying a high price

Human rights activists in Syria are deliberately targeted by regime forces andnon-state actors alike for their civil, non-violent and peaceful work. The number of activists who were targeted since the outbreak of the uprising and its brutal crackdown by the regime is nearly impossible to verify. Nevertheless it is well known that civil activists have been forcibly disappeared in their hundreds. In detention centers, they are often tortured to death. Their destiny is often unknown after being forcibly disappeared, during which access to a fair trial is never possible.

70,000 Syrians have died as a result “of indirect causes such as lack of adequate medical care, lack of access to food and clean water, and spread of communicable disease.” This places further fears vis-à-vis the medical situation of Khateeb, whose injuries require proper medical care. This care is not possible anywhere in Syria as he has been openly threatened by the Islamic State and the Syrian regime alike.

Al Khateeb should urgently be evacuated outside Syria

Targeted by multiple parties to the conflict for his activism, both within and outside besieged areas of southern Damascus, we strongly believe that whoever is behind the attempted assassination will try again until Khateeb’s voice is silenced for good. This is the second attempt on his life.

Khateeb should be immediately and urgently evacuated to outside Syria for medical treatment

His survival, however, strongly indicates that inside Syria, there is no safe space left for a civil activist like Abdallah al-Khateeb, because currently no side can guarantee his safety. According to international law, it is the obligation of the regime, to allow for the evacuation of Khateeb for medical treatment outside Syria instantly.

(Source / 23.07.2016)

Syrian Coalition Calls for Strong International Condemnation of Russia & Assad Crimes

Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ilah Alfahd called on the international community to publicly condemn the ongoing crimes committed by the Assad regime and its allies against Syrian civilians.

In a press statement released on Friday, Alfahd said: “This callous disregard for the blood of the Syrian people and the eerie silence over criminal practices by the Assad regime as well as that of the Russian and Iranian invaders is a shameful stain on humanity and the international community. Failure to unequivocally and openly condemn these crimes is tantamount to explicit support and direct complicity in the shedding of the blood of the Syrian people.”

The Assad regime and Russian forces have committed a series of massacres in Idlib city and its countryside over the past three days. Dozens of civilians, including children and women, have been killed in brutal airstrikes launched by the Assad regime and Russian forces that hit the secondary students exams department in Idlib city.

Three missiles fired by Assad regime Russian jets landed near an exam center, causing panic amongst students as well as severe damage to the center. Secondary and preparatory education exams were subsequently postponed as a result of the airstrikes that led to the exams center being shut down.

Alfahd strongly condemned these crimes, especially the ongoing bombardment of residential areas in Idlib which prompted an exodus of civilians out of the city. He also condemned the bombing of schools, the building of the Directorate of Education and educational facilities in Idlib.

“This campaign of terror is clearly aimed at disrupting any attempt designed to provide education and save the future of Syrian children as well as preventing any effort to offer basic services to civilians in liberated areas,” Alfahd stressed.

Alfahd added: “These barbaric attacks represent a war crime and a violation of the Geneva Convention, especially as they have been perpetrated systematically by the Assad regime in all parts of Syria since the start of the revolution. As part of this policy, the Assad regime deliberately targeted schools, mosques, hospitals, health facilities, warehouses of relief aid, and residential buildings.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 23.07.2016)

Russian Forces are Pouring Cluster Munition over Syria

No less than 54 Russian Cluster Attacks Recorded before the Cessation of Hostilities Statement

Cluster Munition over Syria

SNHR has published a report entitled “Russian Forces are Pouring Cluster Munition over Syria”. The report draws upon 21 accounts by eyewitnesses, survivors, and local media activists that SNHR contacted.
The report sheds light on the incidents of cluster munition use that have been documented from the beginning of the Russian military action in Syria until the commencement of Cessation of Hostilities statement on 27 February 2016. This, however, doesn’t mean that Russian forces have ceased the use of cluster munitions after the Cessation of Hostilities was put into effect.
The report notes that Russian forces disregarded the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the condemnation of the use of cluster munitions to a greater extent than the Syrian regime. We recorded 54 Russian attacks during the period of time covered in the report.
The report divides the attacks into 51 attacks that were carried out in areas controlled by armed opposition factions where mostly of these attacks took place in Aleppo and Idlib governorates while the remaining three attacks were in ISIS-held areas in Deir Ez-Zour and Al-Raqqa governorates.
According to the report, 52 civilians were killed in these attacks including 13 children and seven women. Additionallyb, 145 others were injured.

Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, says:
“It seems that the Syrian lands are blatantly used as a testing ground where the Russian weapons and its effectiveness are tested. No action has been taken against the use of cluster munition by Russian forces or haven’t been even condemned. Apparently, Russian forces have used huge amounts of cluster munitions that are estimated to be tens of thousands of small bombs in a few months. Most of these bombs were directed against areas populated by Syrian citizens. The proper disposal of the remnants will require long decades and will cause injuries among citizens. The international community must aid Syrians with the necessary expertise and equipment in order to dispose the submunitions that haven’t exploded yet.”
The report describes the use of cluster munitions by Russian forces as a violation of the principles of distinction and proportionality that are established in the international humanitarian law. The incidents included in this report constitute war crimes especially that evidences suggest that cluster munition were used against civil targets rather than to accomplish specific military objects.

The report recommends that Russia must immediately cease the use and manufacture of cluster munitions in Syria and start to destroy its arsenal of cluster munition and join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The report demands that the Russian government publishes detailed maps that illustrate the sites where cluster attacks occurred and make these maps available for the United Nations and the Syrian community which will facilitate the process of the disposal of the remnants that didn’t explode yet. Furthermore, the report demands that reparations be insured to the Syrian society for the material and moral damages and particularly to the victims and their families.
Also, the report demand the Security Council adopts a resolution particularly on the prohibition of cluster munitions in Syria akin to what happened with the chemical weapons. Moreover, the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council must not impede Russia from being held accountable by the Security Council itself. Otherwise, the Security Council will lose its remaining credibility.
The report emphasizes that the Friends of Syria group condemns the use of cluster munitions against the Syrian people by the Russian forces and to press on Russia to cease its ongoing and repeated violations which implies that this is a policy for the Russian State.
Finally, the report calls on the Human Rights Council and the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to conduct extensive studies on the sites where cluster munitions were used by Russian forces to warn the residents of these areas and accelerate the process of the disposal of cluster remnants.

View full Report

(Source / 22.07.2016)

Nouraddin Zenki Pledges Fair Trial for Its Fighter in Line with Coalition’s Request

Noureddine Zanki Movement responded positively to calls by the Syrian Coalition to ensure accountability and transparency in relation to war crimes and human rights violations, especially with regards to the execution of a child near Aleppo on Wednesday by a fighter of the Movement after he has been charged with collaborating with regime forces.

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah earlier today met with head of the Movement’s political bureau Mohamed Alsayyed to discuss a request by the Movement to the Syrian Coalition and the interim government to help lay out a legal framework to tackle the incident.

Noureddine Zanki Movement stressed that such a crime will not go unpunished, warning against the exploitation of this incident to justify war crimes committed by the Assad regime against innocent civilians. The Movement also warned against the regime’s use of such an isolated incident as a pretext to carry on with its crimes and massacres or to politicize it to demonize the Free Syrian Army.

Nouraddin Zenki Movement on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the incident which was “an isolated mistake by an individual.” The statement said the incident “does not represent the policy of the movement.” The statement also reiterated the movement’s commitment to human rights laws and international treaties, adding that all fighters involved in the crime were detained and will face legal procedures.

The Syrian Coalition condemned the “heinous crime” and urged all the Free Syrian Army groups to reiterate full commitment to international laws and conventions. It also called for zero tolerance on violations or abuses of any kind including condoning any act that contravenes the principles of the revolution and the aspirations of the Syrian people who have risen up demanding freedom, dignity and justice. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

A message to the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces

Reiterating SOC’s statement

Nour Eddin Zinki Movement reiterates its respect to the principles of accountability and transparency with regards to war crimes and human rights violations.

The movement further invites competent legal authorities of the Syrian Interim Government and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces for a discussion of the incident in order to find the legal approach to address it. The movement pledges to put all its administrative and legal capacities at their disposal.

We confirm, once again, that no war crime would go unpunished or unaccounted for. We further warn against the regime’s use of such an exceptional incident and individual crime as a pretext to continue its crimes and massacres and politicize this matter to demonize factions of the Free Syrian Army.

Long live Syria, free and dignified
Long live the Syrian revolution, the revolution of freedom and dignity.

22 July 2016
Political Office
Nour Eddin Zinki Movement

photo nor2lden

(Source / 22.07.2016)

$6B Spent Fighting ISIS, 50,000 Bombs Dropped In Iraq & Syria, And Still No End In Sight

‘The U.S. taxpayers will pay once to blow the place up and then pay again to build it back up,’ wrote one analyst of the seemingly endless campaign to destabilize Syria and the Middle East.

In this picture taken on Saturday, April 18, 2015, a car passes in an area that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing campaign in Kobani, north Syria. (AP Photo/Mehmet Shakir)

In this picture taken on Saturday, April 18, 2015, a car passes in an area that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing campaign in Kobani, north Syria

WASHINGTON — After two years of bombing, the U.S. recently marked a horrendous milestone in a war with no clear end in sight.

Vocativ reported that the American-led coalition in the Middle East has now dropped 50,000 bombs in the ongoing campaign against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL in the West) that began in August 2014.

The analysis noted that bombing has increased with time, peaking in June when coalition forces dropped 3,167 bombs on Iraq and Syria.

“By comparison, U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan have dropped just over 16,000 bombs in the last six years, military data shows,” Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, a senior writer for Vocativ, wrote on Tuesday.

Although reports suggest Daesh is losing to ground forces in the region, the conflict still has no clear end in sight. And despite U.S. government denials, Kavanaugh reported it’s become increasingly clear that civilians are frequently killed by bombs dropped by the U.S. and coalition forces:

“Airwars estimates that at least 1,422 civilians have been killed by weapons deployed by coalition warplanes through July 18, a figure far greater than the 41 civilian deaths acknowledged by the Pentagon to-date.”

Antiwar.com reported Tuesday that hundreds of civilians may have been killed in coalition airstrikes on villages occupied by Daesh near the northern Syrian city of Manbij. Jason Ditz wrote:

“U.S. and coalition airstrikes against the northern Syrian villages of Tokhar and Hoshariyeh have killed at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Other groups claimed the civilian toll was as high as 200.”

“The Pentagon rarely accounts for civilians killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, occasionally issuing statements with dramatic undercounts of the number of civilians they’ve killed since the war began,” Ditz noted. “U.S. attacks in and around Manbij alone have killed over 150 people in the past two months.”

In addition to the loss of human lives, the ongoing war on Daesh has a high financial toll. On Tuesday, Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, wrote, “With each bomb costing on average somewhere around $50,000, those bombs have cost U.S. (for the most part) taxpayers at least two and a half billion dollars.”

And in February, The Hill reported that the cost of the war had already surpassed $6 billion by the end of January.

“A defense spokesman says that, as of January 31, the total cost to U.S. taxpayers of anti-ISIS operations that began on Aug. 8, 2014, is $6.2 billion,” reported Kristina Wong, defense reporter for The Hill. “That’s an average of $11.5 million per day, for 542 days of operations. The average daily cost of operations has gone up from $11.4 million per day, as of late December.”

Since the real goal for this war has more to do with controlling the region’s energy resources and overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad than actually defeating Daesh, McAdams noted that profits for the military-industrial complex will continue to roll in even after the bombing finally ceases.

“Imagine how much damage to infrastructure, environment, etc. will have been done by 50,000 bombs,” he wrote. “The U.S. taxpayers will pay once to blow the place up and then pay again to build it back up.”

So, more than 50,000 bombs later, are the U.S. and coalition forces any closer to eradicating Daesh? Official government sources under-report civilian death tolls, and the number of Daesh fighters killed so far is even harder to calculate, with the Pentagon and other official sources offering conflicting, biased reporting.

Zogenaamde ISIS doden

In October, The Atlantic’s Kathy Gilsinan reported that the U.S. military claimed it had killed 20,000 Daesh fighters in about a year. “Somehow, though, ISIS’s ‘overall force’ is the same size as it was when the U.S. air campaign expanded into Syria over a year ago,” she wrote.

Gilsinan argued that this inaccurate body count could help extend the war indefinitely, concluding:

“And if the United States can’t know when it has won—or lost—it can’t know when the killing will stop. Nor, apparently, exactly how much it has already done.”

(Source / 21.07.2016)

Amnesty International Urges International Anti-ISIS Coalition to Avoid Bombing Civilians, Demands Investigation into Manbij Massacre

Amnesty International urged the forces of the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition carrying out airstrikes in Syria to redouble efforts to prevent civilian deaths and investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law.

Local activists said that the coalition forces have committed a horrific massacre in the village of Altoukhar near the town of Manbij northeast of Aleppo where over 125 civilians were killed in airstrikes by the coalition forces on 17-18 July.

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah on Wednesday sent an urgent letter to the foreign ministers of the international anti-ISIS coalition in the wake of the massacres. Alabdah demanded an immediate suspension of military operations by the international anti-ISIS coalition in Syria to allow for a thorough investigation of these incidents.

“It is essential that such an investigation not only results in revised rules of procedure for future operations, but also informs accountability for those responsible for such major violations,” the letter said.

Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, said: “The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life.”

“Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” Mughrabi stressed.

Amnesty International said it had reviewed available information on dozens of suspected coalition airstrikes and found that in the majority of cases in which civilian casualties have been credibly reported, the coalition has dismissed the claims.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 21.07.2016)

Syrian Coalition Calls for Suspension of International Anti-ISIS Coalition’s Airstrikes in Wake of Manbij Massacre

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah sent an urgent letter to the foreign ministers of the international anti-ISIS coalition in the wake of the horrific massacres committed in the town of Manbij northeast of Aleppo by aircrafts of the coalition on Tuesday and which claimed the lives of over 125 civilians.

Alabdah demanded an immediate suspension of the military operations of the international anti-ISIS coalition in Syria to allow for a thorough investigation of these incidents.

“We believe that such incidents indicate a major loophole in the current operational rules followed by the international coalition in conducting strikes in populated areas. It is essential that such investigation not only result in revised rules of procedure for future operations, but also inform accountability for those responsible for such major violations,” the letter said.

Alabdah strongly condemned the massacre and held the international coalition totally responsible for the crimes that took place in Manbij.

“The Syrian people, as you are aware, have been murdered, maimed and tortured for over five years now at the hands of Assad’s murderous regime, Russia, Iran and allied militias in addition to ISIS and terrorist groups.”

Alabdah warned that the killing of the Syrian people now at the hands of the international coalition “will only push them further into a spiral of despair and, more importantly, will prove to be a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations.”

The Syrian Coalition on Tuesday emphasized the need to prioritize the protection of Syrian civilians in any operation targeting the murderous Assad regime and terrorist groups. All measures should be taken to protect civilian lives, the Coalition said.

The Coalition stressed that fighting terror cannot be achieved through the brutal targeting of civilians, nor should it justify the targeting of civilians in any way. These last incidents are not the first to occur and the international anti-ISIS coalition has not yet opened any investigation into previous attacks on civilians, the Coalition added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 20.07.2016)

U.S. stops aid to Syrian rebel group after beheading of Palestinian boy

Future aid and armaments are now on the line for the Syrian Opposition after news emerged yesterday that a prominent Syrian rebel group had decapitated a 12-year-old Palestinian kid, Abdallah Issa, at the Handarat camp in northern Aleppo yesterday.

Nour al-Din al-Zinki, a supposed moderate faction of the Syrian Opposition is believed to have perpetrated the beheading.

The U.S State Department promised “consequences” if the gruesome video turns out to be genuine.

“If we can prove indeed what happened and this group [al-Zinki] was involved in it, it would give us pause about any assistance or frankly any further involvement”, U.S. official Mark Toner told reporters at a press briefing today.

“I can’t take what these consequences would be, but this certainly would give a pause and we’ll look at any affiliation or cooperation with this group,” he reiterated.

In a statement released by Nour al-Din al-Zinki, its leadership condemned the killing, saying it does not reflect the movement itself, but “an individual error”.

Lately, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been tying the noose around the final rebel road leading to Aleppo city – thus, the beheading could be seen as a sign of desperation before a full-blown siege of rebel-held Aleppo.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Syria: Coalition bombing kills at least 56 civilians

Mostly women and children reportedly killed in coalition air strikes on ISIL-held northern Syrian town.

Arab and Kurdish fighters, backed by the US, launched an offensive against ISIL to retake the city of Manbij late last month

At least 56 civilians, including 11 children, have been killed in US-led air strikes against areas in Syria held by the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), a monitoring group said.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washinton, said that at least one town near the city of Manbij was allegedly hit by a coalition strike and that many of the casualties were reportedly women and children.

“The US central command has confirmed to Al Jazeera that it was conducting air strikes in the area and says it needs to investigate allegations of whether civilians were injured or killed in this incident.”

Director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel-Rahman told DPA news agency: “We believe that the raids which were carried out Tuesday were by US [or] allied planes, but it was by mistake.”

Residents in the area say the death told could be upwards of 200.

“It seems that the Syrian Democratic Forces under the leadership of the International coalition which is in charge of planning have decided to adopt a scorched earth policy,” Hasan al-Nifi, a community leader in Mabij, told Al Jazeera.

“Manbij is full of residents, a quarter of a million residents, used by ISIL as human shields. Yesterday the coalition struck Al Zahuna neighbourhood, where more than 23 people were killed. Then it struck the western gate of the city, killing 6 people.”

“Today the residents of Toka woke to a horrific massacre. The death toll rose to 212 and the numbers are rising.”

The Manbij area has seen intense US-led airstrikes in support of Kurdish-led forces who are trying to seize the city from ISIL, so as to block the armed group’s access to the nearby Turkish border.

The Observatory on Monday said that 104 civilians had been killed in airstrikes since the Democratic Forces of Syria (DFS) launched their campaign in the area at the end of May.

There was no immediate comment from the coalition, the Associated Press reported.

The SDF, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by the US, launched an offensive against ISIL to retake the city of Manbij late last month.

They have besieged the town and are advancing to the city centre under the cover of air strikes by the US-led international coalition.

ISIL has held the city since 2014, the year that the armed group seized control of large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared its “caliphate”.


Also on Monday, Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said a driver who works for the agency in Syria was killed after suffering a shrapnel wound in the northern city of Aleppo.

Gunness said Yaser Mahmoud Shuaeeb, a 45-year-old father of six children, died on Sunday.

Aleppo has witnessed some of the worst fighting in Syria over the past months. On Sunday, government forces besieged rebel-held neighbourhoods of the contested city.

READ MORE: Pressure mounts in Aleppo after supply line cut

Gunness said that UNRWA reported two other incidents on Sunday.

In one, a mortar shell landed 600 metres from the UN agency’s office in Damascus. In the other, a missile hit close to the Nairab refugee camp south of Aleppo. The incidents caused no injuries, he said.

The death toll in the Syrian conflict, which began with mostly unarmed demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, has risen to more than 280,000 people, while half the country’s population have been forced from their homes, according to UN estimates.

Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy to Syria, estimated last month that the actual death toll could be as high as 400,000 people.

(Source / 19.07.2016)