Syrian regime artillery forces fired shells at Ariha city in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate on March 21, 2021, with one of the shells landing in the schoolyard of the Jeel al Ghad School, also known as al Imam Malek School, in the city’s al Shamali al Gharbi neighborhood, partially destroying the schoolyard and fence and damaging the school’s structure. SNHR can confirm that the school is located in a residential area which is free of any military equipment or presence.
Through this action, Syrian forces have, without doubt, committed another violation of Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2254 which prohibited any further indiscriminate attacks, as well as violating the rules of international humanitarian law that stress the distinction between civilians and combatants. Attacks of this nature spread terror and panic among civilians, leading them to flee their lands and homes in an attempt to reach safety, and forcibly displacing them, with the number of internally displaced persons within Syria now reaching approximately 6.5 million Syrian citizens in total. The international community should put pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to force them to compensate the displaced victims, rehabilitate homes and vital centers, support the process of political transition, and press all parties to pursue implementation of political transition according to a strict timetable which must not exceed six months, thus enabling millions of IDPs to return homes.