Assad forces step up attacks on markets, hospitals: Amnesty
NEW YORK (AFP) - Syrian government forces are stepping up attacks on markets, hospitals and bread queues, increasing civilian deaths in the country's worsening conflict, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
The "random" air and artillery strikes indicate that President Bashar al-Assad's government is now seeking to "punish" towns under opposition control, Amnesty said in a new report on the Syrian civil war.
The rights group said its investigators had found hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured in recent weeks "in the street, while running for cover or trying to shelter from the bombings." Amnesty investigators looked into attacks which caused the deaths of 166 civilians, including 48 children and 20 women, in 26 towns and villages in the Idlib, Jabal Al-Zawiya and Hama regions.
"Government forces now routinely bomb and shell towns and villages using battlefield weapons which cannot be aimed at specific targets, knowing that the victims of such indiscriminate attacks are almost always civilians," said Ms Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty expert who recently returned from northern Syria.