Kerry calls for war crimes investigation in Syria

According to the US secretary of state, Russia and the Syrian regime owe the world an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities. Russia responded saying Kerry's comments could result in legal repercussions.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

According to the World Health Organization, at least 377 people have been killed in eastern Aleppo alone since Syrian forces backed by Russia started air and ground offensives after the ceasefire collapsed late September.

Russia and the Syrian regime should be investigated for war crimes for bombing civilian targets, said US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.

The US suspended its cooperation with Moscow last week for “failing of a ceasefire in Syria and its inability to end the violence in the war-torn country.”  According to the World Health Organization, at least 377 people have been killed in eastern Aleppo alone since Syrian forces backed by Russia started air and ground offensives after the ceasefire collapsed late September.

"Last night, the [Syrian] regime attacked yet another hospital and 20 people were killed and 100 people were wounded,” Kerry told reporters before a meeting with France's foreign minister. It was not clear which incident he was referring to.

“Russia, and the regime, owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women,” he said.

"These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes and those who commit these would and should be held accountable for these actions."

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded, saying it saw legal consequences in Kerry’s comments, Interfax news agency reported.

A major ally of Bashar al Assad, Russia has been carrying out air strikes in Syria for more than a year. Last week, Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin authority to keep warplanes in Syria for an indefinite period.

The United Nations (UN) has predicted opposition-held Aleppo could be destroyed by Christmas.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura offered on Thursday to go to eastern Aleppo and escort up to 1,000 opposition fighters out of the city to try to bring an end to bombardment by Russian and Syrian forces.

On Friday, RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying Russia was ready to support Mistura’s proposal.

Lavrov said opposition fighters in Aleppo should give written assurances they have separated from "terrorist" groups. They will then be able to form joint law-and-order bodies with authorities, he said.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies