On August 22, 2023, fixed-wing warplanes believed to be Russian fired multiple missiles at a building being used as a shelter by internally displaced persons (IDPs) located in northern Ein Shieb village in Sahl al-Rouj in western rural Idlib governorate. The attack killed two civilians, one of them a child, and wounded five others. The airstrikes also caused extensive destruction to the building, as well as killing a number of sheep and other livestock animals owned by the IDPs. The area is under the joint control of armed opposition factions and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that the building sheltering the IDPs was formerly Ein Shieb Water Station, which had been decommissioned before being repurposed as an IDPs shelter.
Through this and similar attacks, Russian forces have unequivocally violated UN Security Council resolutions 2139 & 2254, both of which categorically prohibit indiscriminate attacks, as well as violating the rules of international humanitarian law on distinguishing between civilians and fighters. Such attacks aim solely to spread fear and panic among civilians, and to drive them from their lands and homes, and forcibly displace them. It is estimated that 6.5 million people are currently internally displaced in Syria.
The international community must put pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to compensate the displaced victims, repair the damaged homes and civilian facilities, and support a process of political transition. Pressure should be applied on all parties to compel them to launch such a transition within a period of no more than six months, so that millions of displaced people can safely and stably return to their homes.
SNHR-exclusive photo showing the destruction following a Russian airstrike on an IDPs shelter near Ein Shieb village in western rural Idlib governorate, which resulted in casualties – August 22, 2023