The UN top rights official, Michelle Bachelet, has condemned the reported executions of civilians by violent extremists in the east of war-torn Syria, warning that an “at least 7,000” people in Deir-Ez-Zor province were trapped, amid efforts to dislodge ISIL from one of their last strongholds in the country.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva on Wednesday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that an “at least 7,000” people in Deir-Ez-Zor province were trapped, amid efforts to dislodge ISIL from one of their last strongholds in Syria.
“These civilians are of course frightened and stuck between the intensifications of the airstrikes and bombardments against ISIL on one hand, and also being prevented from leaving the areas under ISIL’s control on the other hand,” Ms. Bachelet told journalists in Geneva on Wednesday. “We have also reports of ISIL executing civilians perceived as cooperating with the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) or with other parties to the conflict.”
In an appeal to the extremists, the High Commissioner urged them to remove all military personnel and objects from civilian areas, in line with international law.
She also reminded all parties to the conflict – “including all States conducting operations against ISIL” – that they had an obligation under humanitarian international law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all times.