On September 1, 2023, five children were killed in an artillery attack by Syrian regime forces who fired multiple shells at civilians’ homes in al-Mahsanli village, northwest of Manbij city in eastern rural Aleppo governorate. The bombardment also wounded other civilians.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that the attack followed armed clashes between armed groups composed of Arab tribes, which are affiliated with the Syrian National Army (SNA). The SNA formations raided and took control of the village with the aim of providing support for the Arab tribes fighting Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir Ez-Zour, where clashes are still ongoing between the two sides.
The area is located on the dividing lines between areas controlled by the SDF and Syrian regime forces. SNHR notes that through this attack, Syrian regime forces have again 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 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.