GENEVA / SYRIA COI

06-Sep-2017 00:03:14
Parties to the conflict in Syria continue to perpetrate unthinkable crimes against civilians in and away from the battlefield in blatant violation of international law, including forced displacement, deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of chemical weapons, according to a new report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA COI
TRT: 3:14
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 6 SEPTEMBER 2017 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“This time we have also looked into how local truces including the famous ‘Four towns agreement’ have brought sieges to an end. We have found that some of these truces incorporated evacuation agreements which resulted in the forced displacement of civilians from thOse areaS.”
4. Close up, journalist
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“We further documented several incidents perpetrated by the terrorist groups HTS Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra) and ISIL and by armed group fighters in a disturbing part of terrorist organisation extremist groups intentionally targets religious minorities in locations both under their control and under the control of the Syrian Government.”
6. Medium shot, photograph
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“We wish to stress here that the vast majority of incidents in which civilians are killed and maimed in Syria involve the unlawful use of conventional weapons, in particularly through indiscriminate aerial bombardments using cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.”
8. Medium shot, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“In several instances government forces used chemical weapons against civilians in opposition held areas including Khan Shaykhun, Idlib on 4th April. We gather excessive evidence including 43 interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, first responders, medical staff and persons who visited the site as well as photos of remnants and satellite imaginary. On the basis of this information we concluded that a chemical attack was carried out by a Syrian air craft which dropped 3 conventional bombs and sarin bomb in Khan Shaykhun. This sarin attack killed over 80 individuals, most of them women and children and injured hundreds of others.”
10. Medium shot, journalist
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Our latest reports find that the United States force failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attacking alleged terrorists and destroying parts of a most complex in al-Jinah, Aleppo on 16 March resulting in an alarming loss of civilian lives, a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
12. Medium shot, journalist
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“We continue to investigate additional allegations that international Coalition airstrikes carry out as part of the ongoing offensive to repel ISIL from Ar-RaqqaO resulting in increasing number of civilians casualties while looking into allegations of several such incidents, protection concerns continue to arise when Commission personnel interview victims and witnesses from Ar-Raqqa”.
14. Close up, journalist
STORYLINE
Parties to the conflict in Syria continue to perpetrate unthinkable crimes against civilians in and away from the battlefield in blatant violation of international law, including forced displacement, deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of chemical weapons. This despite some localized reductions in fighting, according to a new report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (06 Sep), Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who chairs the Commission said "This time we have also looked into how local truces including the famous ‘four towns agreement’ have brought sieges to an end. We have found that some of these truces incorporated evacuation agreements which resulted in the forced displacement of civilians from these area.”

Government forces continued to deliberately target civilians in opposition-held areas, according to the report, including through the use of chemical weapons.

“In several instances government forces used chemical weapons against civilians in opposition held areas including Khan Shaykhun, Idlib on 4th April. We gather excessive evidence including 43 interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, first responders, medical staff and persons who visited the site as well as photos of remnants and satellite imaginary. On the basis of this information we concluded that a chemical attack was carried out by a Syrian air craft which dropped 3 conventional bombs and sarin bomb in Khan Shaykhun. This sarin attack killed over 80 individuals, most of them women and children and injured hundreds of others", Pinheiro said.

Nonetheless, the unlawful use conventional weapons continue to cause the greatest number of casualties, and many different parties are responsible for violating international humanitarian law.

“We wish to stress here that the vast majority of incidents in which civilians are killed and maimed in Syria involve the unlawful use of conventional weapons, in particularly through indiscriminate aerial bombardments using cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas,” said Pinheiro.

On the subject of terrorist groups, Pinheiro said that the Commission "documented several incidents perpetrated by the terrorist groups HTS Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra), and ISIL, and by armed group fighters in a disturbing pattern of terrorist organisation extremist groups intentionally targeting religious minorities in locations both under their control and under the control of the Syrian Government.”

The report also found that United States forces failed to take precautions to protect civilians when attacking alleged terrorists and destroying part of a mosque complex in al-Jinah, Aleppo in March, in violation of international humanitarian law.

Pinheiro said that investigations are ongoing into " allegations that international Coalition airstrikes carry out as part of the ongoing offensive to repel ISIL from Ar-Raqqa resulting in increasing number of civilian casualties."

Investigations also continue into allegations that before fleeing Syria, ISIL fighters are trying to sell enslaved Yazidi women and girls – victims of the on-going and largely unaddressed genocide.

The report considered the period between March and July 2017 and will be presented to the Human Rights Council on 18 September.
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