Record Number of Civilian Deaths in February 2018
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) recently published a report detailing the death tolls in Syria throughout February 2018, with a record high of 1389 civilian deaths. Civilian victims in February include, 316 children and 236 women, the majority of which were at the hands of the Syrian Regime in Eastern Ghouta.
Despite de-escalation zones in Eastern Ghouta, 67% of the total death tolls took place in the area, at the hands of the Syrian Regime. Security Council resolution 2401 was adopted due to the magnitude of fighting in the area on February 24th 2018. The resolution provided a cessation of hostilities and attempted to get the passage of aid into the area.
Despite the Security Council resolution 2401, Syrian regime forces continued bombardments in the area. There is also no record that any aid was able to get into the besieged areas since the resolution was adopted.
The agricultural district of Eastern Ghouta is under such heavily artillery because it remains the last major area still under rebel control. Reports have come out claiming that Syrian Regime forces are ammasing on the perimeter of the rebel-held region as a final ground offensive against rebels, and killing over 900 civilians in the process.
Syrian Regime Forces were the largest perpetrator of civilian deaths this month, with a total of 1073 civilians, including 203 children and 179 women throughout the month of February. The second largest portion of civilian casualties were at the hands of International Coalition Forces, with a total of 102 civilians, including 50 women and 31 children.
The SNHR report sheds light on the different methods used by each party causing civilian casualties in Eastern Ghouta this month. Despite the area being virtually untouched for over a year, Syrian Regime forces used barrel bombs extensively in the area, leading to a record number of civilians deaths by that weapon since the start of the conflict in March 2011.
The de-escalation agreement of May 2017 was still in effect in the four established zones of the Idlib governate, nothern Homs, Eastern Ghouta and parts of Daraa and al Quneitra until the attacks on Eastern Ghouta. In May 2017, Russia, USA and Jordan also announced a ceasefire agreement for southwestern Syria including the Daraa, Quneitra and Suwayda governates.
There was also an agreement signed for the northern suburbs of Homs and southern suburbs of Hama de-escalation agreement which was signed in Cairo on Monday, July 31, 2017 following a round of talks between armed opposition factions in the area and the Syrian regime represented by the Russian government a sponsoring party, as the agreement was to commence at Thursday, August 3, 2017.
Despite numerous sources claiming the conflict in Syria to be over in previous months, the civilian deaths and fighting in Syria continue to destroy the country and make it unsafe for Syrians to return in certain areas. Reports cite that over 400,000 families are currently in need of aid in Eastern Ghouta, and the Syrian Regime forces are not allowing aid into the area.
-Government forces: 1073
- Russian forces: 77
- ISIS: 41
- Armed opposition factions: 6
- International Coalition forces: 102
- Other Parties: 78
- Kurdish Forces: 12