- Title: U.N. rights boss decries civilian casualties in Syria air strikes
- Date: 26th May 2017
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (MAY 26, 2017) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS BUILDING U.N. NEWS BRIEFING ONGOING SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLEVILLE AND U.N. SPOKESMAN, RHEAL LEBLANC, DURING NEWS BRIEFING JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLEVILLE, SAYING: "The rising death toll of civilians and injuries to them already caused by airstrikes in Deir-ez-Zor and in Al-Raqqa governorates suggests that insufficient precautions may have been taken in the attacks. And just because it is ISIL (Islamic State) controlling an area, that doesn't mean less care can be taken. Just because it is a particularly unpleasant and horrendous group in charge, it doesn't mean those trying to rest control of an area from them should take any less care with the civilians living in that area." CAMERAMAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLEVILLE, SAYING: "On the 14th of May, 23 farm workers, 17 of whom were women, were reportedly killed when airstrikes hit a village called Al-Akershi, which is in a rural area of eastern Al-Raqqa. Airstrikes on two residential areas of the ISIL-controlled city of Albo Kamal, which is in eastern Deir ez-Zor governorate, was hit the following day, reportedly killing at least 59 civilians including 16 children and 12 women, and injuring another 70." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLEVILLE, SAYING: "Apparently, the reports we say says among the 59 civilians killed, there was perhaps one ISIL fighter." U.N. STAFF AND JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESMAN FOR THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, RUPERT COLEVILLE, SAYING: "You are right, there are multiple air forces operating in this part of Syria, including the coalition, maybe mainly the coalition, also understand Iraqi planes as well. And of course, that makes it very difficult to identify which is responsible, and you know we have had this problem throughout the conflict in Syria." UNITED NATIONS BUILDING
- Embargoed: 9th June 2017 12:13
- Keywords: Raqqa Deir-ez-Zor Rupert Colville Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein Islamic State United Nations air strike Syria
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Government/Politics,United Nations
- Reuters ID: LVA0016IH6BEV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.N. human rights chief in a statement called on Friday (May 26) for all air forces operating in Syria to take greater care to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilians in their escalating air strikes especially in the northeast against Islamic State.
The spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein was speaking to a Geneva briefing.
An air strike on Thursday evening killed at least 35 civilians, including family members of Islamic State fighters, in al-Mayadin, a town held by the jihadists near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, a war monitor reported.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State told Reuters that its forces had conducted strikes near al-Mayadin on May 25 and 26 and were assessing the results.
The U.N. human rights office also voiced concern at credible reports that Islamic State is preventing civilians from leaving areas under their control, noting that this violated international law.
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