Syria market attack "may amount to a war crime"

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UN human rights office spokesperson Rupert Colville said survivors spoke of two attacks on the marketplace in Douma, Damascus. Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferre

In Syria, the suffering of civilians has been brought into focus by a government attack on a marketplace in Douma, which killed at least 111 people at the weekend.

According to the UN's human rights office, OHCHR, the death toll is likely to rise from the assault, which may constitute a war crime.

Terrible as the incident was, however, OHCHR insists that the protracted government siege of Douma has had a far worse impact on civilians.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Survivors from Sunday's attack on Douma in Syria say there were in fact two assaults on the market place: one from the air, the other from ground-based missiles.

So far, at least 111 people are reported to have died, but the UN's human rights office, OHCHR, believes the death toll will rise.

That's because the injured are being treated in field hospitals which the UN agency says are "inadequate" and lacking in medicines after a two-year government siege.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville:

"According to survivor accounts on Sunday there were two rounds of attacks, initial air strikes, followed shortly by surface-to-surface missiles that hit people who rushed to thescene to help those killed and injured in the airstrikes."

Rupert Colville said that the marketplace attack could constitute a war crime.

But he insisted that civilians in Douma – which is a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus – told the UN that the two-year government siege has caused far more deaths than the latest attack, horrific though it was.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'04"



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