Covered In Dust, Veiled by Shadow: The Siege and Destruction of Aleppo
This report was produced by the Syrian Accountability Project. JCI Principal David M. Crane is the Founder and Supervising Professor of the Syrian Accountability Project.
From the Executive Summary:
For 160 days, from 16 July through 22 December 2016, the Syrian government besieged the eastern Rebel-held portions of Aleppo. The end result was a key victory for the Syrian government in its war against armed rebellion that began more than six years ago. The siege also resulted in a brutal subjugation of the residents in eastern Aleppo, decimating its foundations.
This paper gives a complete historical narrative of the city of Aleppo to show the transition of one of the world’s oldest cities from cultural metropolis to rubble and dust. This includes a review of the ancient city up until modern time, including a detailed look at Aleppo’s place in the Syrian Civil War from the very beginning until the end of the siege in late December 2016.
This paper then looks at six distinct categories of incidents that are representative of the violations that occurred as an extension of siege policy: Siege Warfare, Indiscriminate Shelling, Barrel Bombs, Chemical Weapons, Attacks on Humanitarian and Medical Operations, and Extrajudicial Killings.
This paper finds that the way siege policy was carried out as pertaining to these six distinct categories amounted to war crimes, mainly committed by the Syrian government and its ally, the Russian Federation. Siege Warfare itself is not a war crime, but the manner in which the siege was undertaken by the main parties, including responses from local Rebel groups, violated international law.