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2017 | 2017, UN General Assembly, Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

This report discusses the battle for control over Aleppo city. According to the Commission, as part of a strategy to force surrender, pro-Government forces encircled eastern Aleppo city in late July and trapped civilians without adequate food or medical supplies. Between July and December 2016, Syrian and Russian forces are said to have carried out daily air strikes, claiming hundreds of lives and reducing hospitals, schools and markets to rubble. Syrian forces are said to have used chlorine bombs in residential areas, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties.

According to the report, armed groups persistently shelled civilians in western Aleppo city. Using improvised weapons, these groups are said to have fired indiscriminately in attacks that killed and injured dozens, including women and children. When launched without a clear military target, these attacks intentionally terrorized the civilian population. The report states that as the situation deteriorated in eastern Aleppo and people tried desperately to flee, some armed groups violently prevented them and used them as human shields.

Moreover, the report states that in a particularly egregious attack, Syrian air forces targeted a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo countryside, allegedly killing more than a dozen aid workers and destroying vital supplies for civilians in need. The convoy had been authorized by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, which was, according to the Commission, aware of its location at the time of the attack. The attack led to the suspension of aid convoys throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, depriving civilians from access to essential goods.

As pro-Government forces recaptured eastern Aleppo city in December, some are said to have executed hors de combat fighters and perceived armed group supporters. The report states that hundreds of men and boys were separated from their families and forcibly conscripted by the Syrian army.