GENEVA / SYRIA COI REPORT

12-Sep-2018 00:02:53
Unprecedented levels of internal displacement – not seen throughout the seven-year conflict – took place in Syria over the last six months, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry noted in its latest report, and urged all parties to the Syria conflict and the States that support them to do “everything in their power” to prevent a full-scale military assault on Idlib.UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA COI REPORT
TRT: 2:53
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 SEPTEMBER 2018 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations.
2. Wide shot, United Nations press room.
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“All the other disasters would be minor events compared to what can happen in Idlib.”
4. Med shot, speakers.
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“The Commission of Inquiry demands that all parties to the conflict and those estates who support them to do everything in their power to prevent a massacre in Idlib. The best way of doing this is to find a political solution.”
6. Med shot, journalists.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“That population, this 2.9 million, almost three million, they are not there because they decided to go to Idlib; they are there because of reconciliation formats; these people, they were transported to Idlib. Then it is pathetic that this population transferred to Idlib, you are supposed to be confronted with this bombardment that we have just described.”
8. Med shot, cameraman.
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Of course, you don’t have anything against fighting against terrorists, but something has to be done to protect the rights of three million people and one million children. I think that this is something that has to move the powers involved in this decision.”
10. Med shot, speakers in the podium.
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanny Megally, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“They are living in tents, many of them are living in tents, many of them are living in destroyed property, et cetera. So any further deterioration of their living situations I think is of great concern. And what we’ve been hearing is with the bombardment that had been happening in the last two days, of course some of the infrastructure that the civilians are dependent on is being hit and that’s of great concern to us.”
12. Med shot, speakers.
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanny Megally, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“What we’ve identified is rockets that were manufactured in Iran, that have been adapted in Syria and have been adapted in a way that they could be used, it seems, to then be filled up with chlorine and used in some of these chlorine attacks.”
14. Med shot, photographer.
15. Med shot, journalists.
16. Close up, journalist.
17. Med shot, journalists.
STORYLINE
All parties to the Syria conflict and the States that support them should do “everything in their power” to prevent a full-scale military assault on Idlib, a high-level UN-appointed panel of investigators said on Wednesday.

Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic told reporters in Geneva Wednesday (12 Sep) that “all the other disasters would be minor events compared to what can happen in Idlib.”

Pinheiro called on “all parties to the conflict and those estates who support them to do everything in their power to prevent a massacre in Idlib” and added “the best way of doing this is to find a political solution.”

The development comes amid growing international calls for a de-escalation of violence in and around the north-west region, which is home to nearly three million people. They are some of the victims of “unprecedented” internal displacement not yet seen in the more than seven-year conflict, according to the report.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged those involved in the more than seven-year war to avoid a further escalation, warning that failure to do so would unleash “a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict” so far.
The UN chief also underscored that while the presence of terrorist groups sheltering in Idlib could not be tolerated, fighting terrorism “does not absolve warring parties of their core obligations under international law”.

Noting that people in Idlib had already been displaced by fighting or following evacuation deals between the Government of Syria military and opposition fighters, the Commission of Inquiry chair said that it was unacceptable that they should be targeted by aerial bombardment, as has been reported in recent days.

Pinheiro said “that population, this 2.9 million, almost three million, they are not there because they decided to go to Idlib. They are there because of reconciliation formats; these people, they were transported to Idlib. Then it is pathetic that this population transferred to Idlib, you are supposed to be confronted with this bombardment that we have just described.”

Some 10,000 fighters that have been identified as terrorists by the UN are believed to be living in Idlib, in among 2.9 million civilians, according to Pinheiro. The protection of civilians was paramount, he insisted.

He said “of course, you don’t have anything against fighting against terrorists, but something has to be done to protect the rights of three million people and one million children. I think that this is something that has to move the powers involved in this decision.”

The latest Commission of Inquiry report is its 16th update on the conflict, as mandated by the Human Rights Council in August 2011.

It details how in under six months this year, as pro-Government forces moved to recapture large swathes of territory from armed groups and terrorist organisations, more than one million Syrian men, women, and children were displaced in six key battles.

Most now face dire living conditions, Hanny Megally, Member of the Commission of Inquiry, told journalists in Geneva.

He said “many of them are living in tents. Many of them are living in destroyed property, et cetera. So, any further deterioration of their living situations I think is of great concern. And what we’ve been hearing is with the bombardment that had been happening in the last two days, of course some of the infrastructure that the civilians are dependent on is being hit and that’s of great concern to us.”

The panel’s 24-page report highlights intense fighting between January and June in Aleppo, northern Homs, Damascus, Rif Damascus, Dara’a, and Idlib governorates.
Most battles were marked by war crimes by all belligerents, it says, including launching indiscriminate attacks, deliberately attacking protected objects, using prohibited weapons, pillaging and/or forced displacement. In other instances, parties to the conflict failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians, as required by international humanitarian law.
Noting the “extremely high cost” to civilians of the battle to regain territory, Megally said that some areas including Yarmouk camp in Damascus and parts of eastern Ghouta had been so heavily destroyed that there is no foreseeable possibility of civilian return.

The panel’s findings also detail alleged chemical weapons attacks by Government forces in heavily populated areas of Douma, eastern Ghouta earlier this year. “Witnesses consistently recalled the distinctive smell of chlorine at the affected sites and on victims’ clothing,” the report reads. On the munitions used in the Douma attacks, the report indicates that “material evidence…indicated a type known to have been used only by Government forces or, rarely by militias”.

Megally said “what we’ve identified is rockets that were manufactured in Iran, that have been adapted in Syria and have been adapted in a way that they could be used, it seems, to then be filled up with chlorine and used in some of these chlorine attacks.”
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