Thousands of Syrian Civilians Are Being Killed in Deliberate Air Strikes by the GovernmentS

Bakeries. Bread lines. Hospitals. These are the targets against which the Syrian government is said to have been conducting "indiscriminate and in some cases deliberate" air strikes—killing more than 4,300 civilians since July of last year, according to a new report by the New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch. "In village after village, we found a civilian population terrified by their country's own air force," Ole Solvang, an HRW researcher said. The 80-page report, written by human-rights workers who visited dozens of sites of attacks in Aleppo, Idlib and Latakia, found strong indications that the government was deliberately and repeatedly targeting hospitals, and using ballistic missiles and cluster bombs that "should, at a minimum, be banned in populated areas." Syrian rebels were not exempt from criticism—they "did not take all feasible measures to avoid deploying forces and structures such as headquarters in or near densely populated areas"—but "an attacking party is not relieved from the obligation to take into account the risk to civilians." The toll on civilian life in Syria after two years of civil war has been immense. "I buried 12 of my family members... including my father, my mother, and my sister; my brother's wife as well," a man named Ahmed told HRW. "Walid, my brother, was cut into pieces. We didn't recognise him at first. We buried my brothers' children also. The youngest was 40 days old." [NYT | AJE | CNN]