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Russia launches airstrikes on Idlib hours after being appointed to UN human rights council Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia launches airstrikes on Idlib hours after being appointed to UN human rights council

Idlib has been heavily targeted by Russia throughout the war [file photo-Getty]

Date of publication: 14 October, 2020

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Russia became a new member of the 47-seat UN human rights council on Tuesday.
Russia bombed parts of Idlib province Wednesday morning, just hours after the country was controversially admitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Monitors reported a series of Russian airstrikes in the Jisr Al-Shighour region, western Idlib, although no casualties were reported.

Monitor Idlib Post reported at least seven strikes on the village of Al-Hamama, sharing images and videos of the bombings, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that Russia targeted a Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) base in the area.

The strikes come just hours after Moscow was voted onto the UN Human Rights Council, despite strong opposition from Syrian rights campaigners.

The timing of the Russian bombing attracted strong condemnation on Twitter.

"#UN human rights member #Russia's warplanes are bombing #Idlib this morning," tweeted one person.

The Syria Campaign strongly opposed Russia's membership but were left disappointed by the the vote.

"The world just got a lot more dangerous and a lot less secure. Although the UN Human Rights Council is not perfect, its independent investigations are vital for holding war criminals to account," said The Syria Campaign’s Executive Director Laila Kiki in a statement.

"Now the war criminals are part of the investigations team and will get to block, veto and weaken any pursuit of justice."

The White Helmets civil rescue team, who has seen team members killed in Russian air strikes, also condemned the move.

"Russia's seat on the Human Rights Council is a slap in the face for Syria and yet another lost hope for justice and accountability for the war crimes committed by Putin’s forces," said The White Helmets' Raed Al-Saleh.

"My teammates have been targeted and killed by Russian airstrikes for their life-saving work. This vote tells us that UN member states care nothing for them or for the war crimes being committed with impunity. Impunity which has just been strengthened today by this move."

Russia has played a key role in the Syrian regime's assault on opposition areas since 2015, killing tens of thousands of civilians in air strikes, according to monitors.

It has also been implicated in the deliberate bombing of hospitals in Idlib province, among other civilian infrastructure in Syria.

Despite this, Russia was among 15 nations to be admitted to the 47-member council, serving a three-year term beginning in January.

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