The Western Countries Protect Idlib Zone Insurgents Making Use of Humanitarian Law

On June 18, the UN Security Council held its regular meeting in New York. The main issue discussed at the meeting was the situation in the Syrian Idlib zone.

Syria – Idlib

The Western countries made another attempt to accuse the Russian Federation and the Syrian government of committing crimes against humanity. Shortly before the day of the UN Security Council meeting, a campaign was launched in the American and European media aimed to demonstrate the alleged deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Idlib zone by Russia and Syria.

The materials published in MSM over the past few days followed the same pattern: two or three experts were invited and high-quality photographs of children were prepared. These two factors contributed to creating an illusion of the authority of the information presented, as well as appealing to the feelings and emotions of the readers.

However, no facts were reported by foreign journalists. All the evidence they have against Russia and Syria are the quantitative indicators provided by independent organizations. In case these figures are proven to be false, it will be impossible to put these independent sources to justice.

The report, delivered by Mar Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, was based on the same principles: lots of accusations and little evidence: “Hospitals, schools and markets have been hit. Power stations have been affected. Crops have been burned. Children are out of school”, he said. At the same time, the report does not indicate who provided the information about the alleged attacks and their alleged organizers.

In response to these groundless accusations, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Vitaly Nebenzya called on “the UN Secretariat and specialized agencies and organizations to only use verified information in their assessments (of the situation in Syria). He also noted that often, after the data provided by the West is carefully analyzed, it turns out that “most of the information is phone calls from some “reliable sources”, not verified by anyone, and which they refuse to name”.

The way the West prefers to operate within the UN framework violates fundamental principles of judicial proceedings and demonstrates deliberate disregard for certain remarks of international law.

First, the most significant proof of Russia’s and Syria’s guilt provided by Mark Lowcock is as follows: “There is no denying the facts”. With this phrase, the West is trying to bring justice from the perspective of a presumption of guilt by forcing one of the parties to prove that the accusations against it are baseless. However, all over the world, “the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies”, which is the essence of the presumption of innocence, the cornerstone of the legal system.

Second, when discussing attacks on hospitals, the U.S. and its allies refer to provisions of international law that prohibit attacks on “civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases”. But at the same time, the Geneva Convention states that “the protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy.”.

In addition, international law states that “the fact that sick or wounded members of the armed forces are nursed in these hospitals… shall not be considered to be acts harmful to the enemy”. Despite this, on 6 June, Idlib militants shelled the only hospital in the town of Maharda, justifying the attack with the fact that the Syrian Army brought its wounded servicemen there.

Thus, the UN’s insistence on stopping the shelling of hospitals in Idlib, without providing objective evidence of the shelling itself or of the fact that medical facilities are not being used by the militants as headquarters or safe havens, is nothing but an attempt to protect members of the “moderate opposition”. That is how the West calls the militants who shell peaceful cities and execute Syrian citizens “linked to the Syrian government”.

 

Pamela Spenser, independent journalist