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Satellite images show egregious 'human rights violations' in Syria

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the civil war in Syria grinds on, as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowing that the conflict will only end with a military solution, Amnesty International has released satellite images of indiscriminate aerial bombardment in civilian areas. The photos are of the frequently battered city of Aleppo. which it says prove "utter disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Combining satellite images analysis alongside field visits to Aleppo , the largest city in Syria , show extensive damage to residential areas, civilian infrastructure as well as cultural heritage sites.

"Aleppo has gone from a city that was the country's economic capital and largest city to a place where there has been very extensive destruction of human life and of infrastructure, and where tens of thousands of inhabitants have been forced out  of their homes," Amnesty International  researcher Donatella Rovera told reporters. Rovera had visited Aleppo over the past several weeks.

Rovera says that Aleppo had been under fire for one year and that daily strikes were continuing.
"These bombardments are carried out by government forces, from the air, with ballistic missiles, with artillery, with internationally banned weapons like cluster bombs and generally with weapons that are designed for the battlefield and should never be used in residential areas because they are not precision weapons and they hit civilian homes indiscriminately," she says.

Amnesty International also cited the example of three ballistic missile strikes last February. More than 160 residents were killed and scores of homes were destroyed. Satellite photographs show entire rows of houses flattened by the attacks.

Amnesty International has asked the United Nations Security Council to refer human rights abuses in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Rovera says that these  satellite images could be used as evidence in future prosecutions.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has analyzed the photographs and has concluded that the destruction across the city was more extensive in opposition-held neighborhoods, which came under attack from government forces.

Amnesty International has also denounced damage to the UNESCO world heritage-listed city of Aleppo, including the collapse of the international heritage site, the minaret at the city's Great Mosque.

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