Today, Human Rights Watch issued a report in which it revealed the names of 10 Russian and Syrian civilian and military officials, whom it considered responsible – under the principle of command responsibility – for serious violations in Idlib that may amount to crimes against humanity.
According to the report, these ten are responsible for dozens of unlawful air and ground strikes on hospitals, schools, and markets from April 2019 to March 2020, which killed hundreds of civilians.
These attacks also seriously compromised the rights to health, education, food, water, and shelter, causing mass displacement.
The report details the violations committed by the Syrian and Russian armed forces during the 11-month military campaign to retake Idlib Governorate and its surrounding areas.
These ten are the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Supreme Commander of the Syrian Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and General Ali Abdullah Ayoub, the Syrian Minister of Defense, who is also the deputy head of the regime’s government, and his name was mentioned among several military commanders in the Syrian army included in the lists of US sanctions against Syria.
The fourth of these is Major General Ahmed Balloul, Commander of the Syrian Air Force, who is responsible for coordinating fighter bombings of populated areas with internationally banned weapons, and he is also subject to British, Canadian and American sanctions.
The fifth is Sergey Shoigu, the Russian Minister of Defense, who is the second in the hierarchy of the Russian army.
And in sixth, Valery Gerasimov, a general in the Russian army who holds the position of First Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
Sergey Rudskoy, a general in the Russian army who is head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, is dissolved seventh.
The eighth is Sergey Vladimirovich Sorovkin, a colonel in the Russian forces who served as commander of the Russian forces in Syria from March 2019 until April 10, 2019.
Andrei Nikolaevich Serdyukov was the ninth colonel in the Russian forces, and served as commander of the Russian forces in Syria from April 10, 2019 until September 2019.
The tenth of these is Alexander Yuryevich Shaiko, a general in the Russian army, who has held the position of commander of Russian forces in Syria from September 2019 until now.
The organization documented 46 air and ground attacks, including the use of cluster munitions, that directly hit or caused damage to civilians and infrastructure in Idlib, in violation of the laws of war.
The strikes killed at least 224 civilians and wounded 561. These were only a fraction of the total attacks during that period in Idlib and the surrounding areas, according to the organization. The campaign displaced 1.4 million people, most of them in the final months of the operation.
The organization said that its report mentions for the first time the names of Russian and Syrian military officials, based on several research it has conducted remotely, verifying more than 500 photos and videos, and analyzing satellite images.