Human Rights Watch accused Syrian security forces of committing “serious abuses in their military campaign on al-Qusayr”, in a report published on Thursday. The city of Al-Qusayr, of approximately 40,000 inhabitants, is located in the Homs governorate near the Lebanese border.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 18 witnesses from al-Qusayr, including an international journalist who covered the conflict from al-Qusayr between March 8 and March 15. They depicted scenes of chaos with snipers directly shooting at residents, attacks on fleeing families and indiscriminate shelling of the entire area.
The organisation also underlines the disastrous humanitarian conditions in the city with food and water shortages, as well as communications blackouts, and “virtually non-existent medical assistance.”
Similar accounts were previously given by witnesses in Idlib and Homs, "suggesting a coordinated policy of abuse", says Human Rights Watch.
“Following their bloody siege of Homs, the Assad forces are applying their same brutal methods in al-Qusayr,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Having seen the devastation inflicted on Homs, the Russian government should stop arms sales to the Syrian government or risk becoming further implicated in human rights violations.”
Witnesses say abuses have been going on for several months, besides the shelling which started between one and three months ago.
Photo: Tank in Al-Qusayr