Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (Photo: Archive)
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has blamed Turkish-affiliated armed groups for killing 12 civilians, including eight children, in northern Syria’s Tal Rifaat.
In a statement on Friday, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville said, “ground-based strikes by Turkish-affiliated armed groups” near a school in Tal Rifaat left at least 12 civilians dead, including children between the ages of 3 to 15.
Read More: UNICEF ‘shocked, saddened’ after 8 children killed in northern Syria
Meanwhile, the OHCHR spokesperson said “intermittent fighting” continues despite a ceasefire in northern Syria. Colville expressed his concern over the indiscriminate use of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in residential neighborhoods and local markets.
Since the Oct. 22 US-Turkish ceasefire agreement, the OHCHR has recorded a rise in IED attacks, including with vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), in populated areas like residential neighborhoods and busy markets in Hasakah, Raqqa, and Aleppo, Colville added.
Between Oct. 22 to Dec. 3, the OHCHR said it recorded at least 49 attacks, 43 of which were in region’s Turkish-affiliated forces occupy. In those 43 attacks, at least 78 civilians were killed, it said.
“These attacks have mainly been carried out in areas under the control of Turkish forces and affiliated armed groups,” Colville underlined.
“Such use may amount to an indiscriminate attack, a serious violation of international humanitarian law, and constitutes a war crime,” he added.
The OHCHR called on all parties to the conflict to “immediately cease and refrain from directing attacks against civilians…and investigate all such incidents.”
“States that support parties to the conflict, even when they are not directly engaged in hostilities, are obliged to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, in all circumstances.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany