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Residents Describe Harsh Conditions During Russian Attack

Thirty-two civilians who managed to escape southeastern Ukraine’s besieged city of Mariupol last week told Human Rights Watch how they struggled to survive in below-freezing temperatures as Russian forces relentlessly attacked the city. They described…
A woman and her family try to get a signal over medium wave radio
News
Incendiary weapons are among the cruelest weapons used in contemporary armed conflict. These weapons, which produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance, cause immediate and lifelong human suffering in addition to…
Remnants of a misfired 9M22S incendiary 122mm Grad rocket
News

Civilians Killed, Injured in Multiple Attacks That May Amount to War Crimes

(Berlin) – Russian forces repeatedly fired cluster munition rockets into the densely populated city of Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, during separate attacks on March 7, 11, and 13, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. An attack on March 13…
News
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Johnson is certainly right that Ukrainian civilians are being killed by indiscriminate attacks, but will anyone end up in the dock? The…
A residential building in Chernihiv, Ukraine damaged by Russian aerial attack on March 3, 2022.
News

International Norms Ignored as Civilians Suffer

(Beirut) – The Russian-Syrian joint military operation has used internationally banned and other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks on civilians in northwest Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. According to the…
A man inspects the destruction left by overnight air strikes targeting residential areas at Kafr Nabl in the rebel-held Idlib Province, Syria, May 20 2019.
News
The endgame of the war in Syria is likely to come down to the northwestern province of Idlib, on the Turkish border, where some 2.3 million people are now trapped. As Russian-Syrian forces now finish retaking the smaller southwestern…
A mother shows a picture of her son, who was detained by authorities in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria, March 20, 2016. She has not heard any news about her son since then.
News

Allow Urgent Aid into Besieged Eastern Ghouta and End Indiscriminate Attacks

(Beirut) – Syrian government and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb approximately 15 kilometers from the center of Syria’s capital Damascus, killing dozens of civilians in apparently unlawful…
Children in the rubble of damaged buildings in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria.
News

Cluster Munitions, Attacks on Main Roads, Residential Areas in Idlib Area

(Beirut) – The Russian-Syrian joint military operation has carried out unlawful airstrikes in recent weeks that have killed civilians trapped in northern Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The ongoing attacks and the lack of…
Screenshot from recording of cluster munition attack in Qalaat Al-Madiq, Syria.
News
‘They will kill us all,” “Ahmad,” a Syrian aid worker, told me last month, referring to the many armed parties to the Syrian conflict. We were talking about Idlib, a province in northwest Syria that is home to around 2…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Security Council Should Impose Sanctions

(New York) – Syrian government forces conducted coordinated chemical attacks in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo during the final month of the battle for the city, Human Rights Watch said today. Through phone and in-person interviews with…
2017_EME_syria_chemical
News

Fighting and Torture Continue to Rack Eastern Ukraine

November was unseasonably warm this year in Donetsk, an eastern Ukrainian city under pro-Russian separatists’ control. As you walk down Pushkin Boulevard, watching golden leaves gently drop to the ground, stop by a fancy coffee wagon and inhale the autumn…
2016-11-28-eca-ukraine-donetsk-scars
News

39th Reported Attack on Schools in Syria This Year

(New York) – Airstrikes by the joint Russian-Syrian military operation that killed dozens of civilians, mostly schoolchildren, in the northern, opposition-controlled Syrian governorate of Idlib on October 26, 2016, could constitute a war crime, Human…
A man carries what appears to be a remnant of the parachute system of one of the bombs used in the attack on a school complex in al-Hass on October 26.
News
It is a striking sight: Dozens of brightly burning objects light up the night, slowly descending to the ground. It looks like a magnificent display of fireworks, but the burning objects are incendiary weapons designed to destroy…
Local Civil Defence Forces extinguishing flames in tent after Syrian government forces shelling hit Khirmash displaced persons camp in Syria on Turkey’s border on April 14, 2016.
News
The warring parties in Syria are to resume talks in Geneva on January 25 with the aim of ending a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and displaced millions. What will it take for the talks to succeed? In October in Vienna…
News

Indiscriminate Attacks Despite Syria’s Written Guarantees

(New York) – The military offensive that the Russian and Syrian government forces opened against armed groups opposed to the government on September 30, 2015, has included extensive use of cluster munitions – inherently indiscriminate and internationally…
AO-2.5RTM submunitions found in Ma`arat al-Nu`man in Idlib province after a cluster munition attack on December 14, 2015.
News
  There was neither shelling nor shooting in Donetsk in the first week of September. The city seemed strikingly normal, with people out in the streets enjoying long balmy evenings, sipping drinks in outdoor cafes…
2015_09_eca_donetsk
News
During a visit to Moscow last week, I was struck by how little Russians seem to know about the barrel bombs that the Syrian government uses daily to kill civilians, with devastating effect. I heard a lot of “we told you so” about how the rise of the…
News
Following the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush began a campaign of “targeted killings” against suspected members of al Qaeda and other armed groups. It has continued under the administration of President…
News
Back in 2006, Israel's profligate use of cluster munitions in Lebanon caught the public eye, nowhere more so than in the Arab world. During the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli forces rained rockets loaded with cluster munitions on south…
News
  1. What's going on in South Ossetia?  2. What's the background to the latest round of fighting?  3. Is this an internal or international armed conflict? What law governs it?  4. What is a lawful target under international humanitarian law?  5. What…
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