Who is to blame for the deaths of 340,000 Syrian civilians?

More than 340,000 people died since what started as a ‘peaceful’ uprising of president Bashar al-Assad almost seven years ago. After succeeding his father in 2000 , protests began during the Arab Spring calling for al-Assad’s resignation. This followed the government’s prevention of freedom of speech and opinion when it came to calls for democracy. 

In Assad’s attempt to bring back government control the protests and violence worsened leading to the formation of hundreds of rebel groups which ultimately led to this civil war.   

Currently Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, home to 400,000 people, continues to be under mass destruction leaving families displaced and desperate. 500 people have been killed by the deadly bombing campaign by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his allies during the seven-year war. Syrian Civil Defence workers state that government forces targeted the town with a number of deadly weapons including barrel bombs which were dropped from helicopters.  

On 24 February, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2401 in favour of a month-long ceasefire, but this has failed to materialise.  Hospitals, schools, and shops are still being destroyed by air and artillery strikes, despite this Russia have taken action and enforced a “humanitarian pause”, replacing the UN ceasefire. The pause was to occur  for five hours a day allowing civilian corridors to let people flee and evacuate in order to get aid and medical attention. However, reports from Al Jazeera say that many of the victims say there is no guarantee of their safety if they choose to evacuate, whilst they continue to stay in their shelters in an attempt to avoid being seen or bombed they’re still far from safe. A man who recently spoke to Al Jazeera, spoke of being forced to go to a shelter in Douma after the area he lived in with his family was indiscriminately shelled.

Throughout the civil war the Syrian government has denied the use of poisonous gasses but those monitoring the situation have reported otherwise, claiming that there has been at least 200 incidences of poison gas attck. It has been said by local medical and other sources that gases released during a dawn rocket attack caused “cases of suffocation,” Reuters reported. Sadly, these allegations of using illegal chemical weapons is nothing new for the President, rather more of the same.

The blame game for who is responsible for the deaths of civilians continues, with both sides alleging the other is responsible for the number of deaths and destruction that is occurring. Russian Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, states that the accusations that Russia bears some of the blame for civilian deaths in Eastern Ghouta is “groundless”, while  the Syrian Observatory claims that they’re able to distinguish between Russian and Syrian planes because Russians aircraft fly higher and they’re not to blame for the deaths.Who