Aleppo: Why We Should Be Alarmed

syria aleppo

Syrian men look at a destroyed Syrian army tank parked outside the Azaz mosque, north of the restive city of Aleppo, on August 2, 2012. (c) AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GettyImages

News reports coming out of Aleppo paint a grim picture of the confrontation between opposition fighters and the Syrian armed forces, who are describing this as the “decisive battle”. If the past 16 months are any indication, we have to brace ourselves for a new wave of human rights violations, as well as grave breaches of international humanitarian law. As has been extensively documented by Amnesty International and others, the atrocities committed in Syria have steadily continued to climb.

For example, one of my colleagues who recently returned from Aleppo, documented crimes we believe amount to crimes against humanity. Her reporting from late May describes how government security forces and the notorious government-backed shabiha militias routinely used live fire against peaceful demonstrations in Aleppo, killing and injuring protesters and bystanders, including children, and hunting down the wounded, the medics who treated them, and opposition activists.

Mo'az Lababidi

Mo’az Lababidi, Aleppo, Syria, undated photo. (c) Private

Among those killed was Mo’az Lababidi, a 16-year-old schoolboy who was shot dead in front of the police station in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo. He attended a funeral procession of one of four demonstrators shot dead at a protest in the same area earlier that day. A mourner who was standing next to him when he was shot told Amnesty International that Mo’az was shot in the chest, collapsed and died immediately.

With limited access to Syria (the UN announced a few days ago that it is pulling out remaining staff due to the deteriorating security situation), we are also deploying satellites to closely follow developments on the ground and to document any large scale attacks against civilians. The first images we released earlier this week confirm that the world needs to be alarmed. My colleague Scott Edwards, in a conversation with the BBC, explains the significance of the satellite images.

A forewarning to those involved in the conflict

By using satellite images to monitor and document ground developments, we are sending a clear message to all parties to the conflict: Any large scale attacks against civilians will be clearly documented so that those responsible can be held accountable.

We will continue to monitor the violence in Aleppo, including through the use of satellite images, to document human rights abuses – and to ultimately hold the perpetrators of these grave crimes accountable. Satellite imagery is a tool we have used many times before to document violations during armed conflict, for example in Sri Lanka, Darfur and South Ossetia (and in Syria earlier this year). And while the wheels of international justice are arguably slow to turn, recent milestones have shown that even the most powerful people in the world cannot evade justice. Syria will be no exception.

The body of evidence against the perpetrators of international crimes in Syria is growing. The global inaction in response to these atrocities is reflected in the dire situation of Aleppo today. Our call for justice stands: The UN Security Council must immediately refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

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14 thoughts on “Aleppo: Why We Should Be Alarmed

  1. The most powerful people cannot evade justice? Bush, Blair, and Obama seem to have done a good job of evading justice. I think you meant to say, the most powerful enemies of Wall Street and London cannot evade our contrived self-appointed authority.

  2. Bush, Blair, Obama never killed their civilians.they killed foreigners. Assad is killing Syrians right now. Nothing gives the right to any president to kill his people just because they don't like him. And by the way…if some are evil, should Assad behave in the same manner? Who cares about Bush when your own government bombs wipes out your family? i am not excsing Bush, you are excusing Assad and since Bush has no more political power but Assad does…you should worry about Assad I think…You should ask for him to resign or for the world to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, whichever comes first because it will be Assad who will hurt you not Bush. Or Blair. Or Obama. Or Santa Claus. Is Assad, Assad, Assad, capish?

    • This has nothing to do with democracy, but all to do with the new world order the the U.S. neo-cons want to impose on the middle east and the whole world. They only killed foreigners! Foreigners are not people? You are forgetting Bush and Blair Lied about going to war to kill foreigners and their own citizens (British and U.S. soldiers)! One question: how does what happens in Syria, affects you? Why the concern? International Law still forbids foreign intervention into a sovereign nation unless it is a threat to that nation. Who does Syria poses a threat to? Now your buddies Al-Qaeda is getting support from the very country Bush and Blair claims are our enemies. More lies and more confused and scared Westerners such as yourself. This country was founded on killing and enslaving it;s citizens! Assad had nothing to do with that!

    • You write: "Assad is killing Syrians right now. "
      But you fail to write that he is also "killing foreigners".

      I refer to the many foreign fighters, including Al Quada terrorists, flooding into Syria from various countries. This is the real story that needs to be told and understood.

      The conflict in Syria now is primarily the Syrian government legitimately defending itself against a foreign-armed and foreign-instigated plan for regime change, to serve the interests of powerful foreign interests, not the interests of the Syrian people.

      This is the real truth. It is very different to the one-sided and dishonest media reporting by most of the mainstream media. And it is very different to the dishonest campaigning by some organizations, such as Amnesty International.

      Every day the real truth can be read for free here:

  3. Amnesty International is a FRAUD! It is a IMPERIALIST front for War profiteering. A NATO TOOL, For military coups around the world. You to are war criminals!

  4. Amnesty International is a disinformation service funded and controlled by the worst of our "Western" oligarchs. We can't believe a word they say about anything – especially about what they have to say about the tragedy unfolding in Syria.

  5. what about the warcrimes of the so called syrian oposition (terrosistms( ? Not in 1 word mentioned by the AI.
    You are loosing my respect and i see you know as another organisation that is trying to bull5hit the world.
    Shame on you and rot in hell!

    • Amnesia International won't mention those warcrimes, because they are just a propaganda vehicle for such terrorists. The US imperialist goverment controls Amnesia International, they are a vehicle for their imperialist anti-humanitarian and anti-democratic NWO politics,
      Never pay a penny to AI. If you want to support human rights, don't pay to such NGO's, there are other organisations which are doing better work, and you might consider aiding the anti-imperialist front, and set out the truth about the situation in Syria.

  6. Yes, what about the growing number of atrocities perpetrated by that loose coalition of rebels/foreign mercenaries/terrorists/adventure seekers known as the "FSA"?

  7. How is Syria affecting me? By looking for trouble together with the other maniacs, the Iranian government. Trouble means tension, bad for markets, etc, you wouln't know, they don't teach you that in religious schools. Get this in your stupid heads: when you have a family ruling a country for more than 40 years you will have armed opposition sooner or later. Israel, the country you all hate and complain aboutregarding everything, even Syria…Israe is not strating any wars, has elections right on the clock, economy works, everything is fine but you imbeciles, don't feel well without some wars, killings, bombings, and a family to rule you for 40 years. You deserve to be rules by Assad but don't deserve to alter the world together with the criminals from Tehran. US will do what you fear: bomb the hell out of Assad's assets then we will move on Iran and liberate that too. Then is Saudi Arabia or North Korea…i hope is the Saudis though. Democracy, peace, strong economies coming up, religious schools and dictatorships going out. The new world order. Tell Assad to get ready to die.

    • Go bomb your own government and kill Hitlery Clinton! USA is the most despotic country in the world with a FAKE democracy (whatever party you choose, always the elite 1% wins, go figure!).

      • I doubt very much that @gl1989gl feels any allegiance to Killery Klinton's Amerika, @robheus, even if the sick puppy resides in-country.

        I rather suspect, based on his demonstrated sociopathic tendencies, that he is just another interchangeable Hasbarabot, toiling tirelessly in the trenches for the sickened state of Israhell – the only master besides Beelzebub that he recognizes as worthy of his worship.

  8. If you are an armed fighter shooting at the police or army, in any country, the police or army will indiscriminately shoot at you, because they have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to protect their civilians. So Assad is NOT shooting at civilians, but at armed fighters. It is a bloody shame that the western bourgous media portrays such terrorists (which kill civilans too, in masses, and even journalists have been killed or abducted) as "peacefull protesters'.
    Amnesia International is just complicit in this, they use the same shameless lies, and are a propaganda vehicle for the imperialist and fundamentalist nations and forces that want to dominate the world.
    The Assad government has the support of the majority of the Syrian population. So western nations want regime change, and therefore do not want a peacefull and democratic outcome, since then they loose. They want a puppet regime in Syria, like they did in Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan. The US never supported a democratic regime, and has always supported dictators (in SKorea, In Vietnam, in Chile, etc.) that are supporting imperialism.

    "Massacre in Aleppo"

  9. My gawd!

    Are you looking forward to cutting off their penises yourself, @gl1989gl? Or are you the other type of sick soul who excitedly anticipates watching any and all types of violently pornographic perversion on your computer screen from the privacy of a darkened room in your basement, cheering on the grotesque madness while fondling yourself?