10 April 2014 Speaking out strongly against yesterdays deadly car bomb attacks on a busy shopping street in the Syrian city of Homs, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator said such brutality serves to remind us again of the contempt the parties to this conflict show for human life.
Brutal violence and indiscriminate attacks on ordinary people have been taking place for more than three years in Syria and no longer have the power to shock. But attacks on civilians are war crimes and may also amount to crimes against humanity, said Valerie Amos, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
According to a statement issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured, including women and children, in the two bomb attacks while they were going about their daily business. Two volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were among the injured as they arrived in an ambulance to treat people hurt in the first blast, and were caught in the second.
The use of car bombs, barrel bombs, aerial bombardment and mortars in residential areas, with no distinction between military targets and civilians, are violations of international humanitarian law, said Ms. Amos, adding that the use of siege as a weapon of war, the recruitment of children for combat, and the subjection of women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence are abhorrent and must end immediately.
This is a war, but even wars have rules. All parties to the conflict need to commit now to upholding international humanitarian law, she declared.
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