TOPICS > World

U.N. Human Rights Monitor Accuses Assad’s Troops, Rebels of War Crimes

August 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
LISTEN SEE PODCASTS

TRANSCRIPT

GWEN IFILL: Next to Syria, where, in Damascus, a bomb attached to a fuel truck exploded near a hotel used by United Nations’ monitors stationed in the capital. At least three people were hurt.

U.N. human rights investigators are also accusing forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. They said the opposition was guilty of war crimes as well, but not to the same extent.

Meanwhile, in the northern rebel-held border town of Azaz, an airstrike by a government jet flattened buildings. Reports of the dead ranged from eight to 30, with even more wounded.

We have a report narrated by Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News.

JONATHAN MILLER: It came out of the blue, the blast cloud indicating that the bombs just dropped. In the town of Azaz near Syria’s border with Turkey, it seems an entire neighborhood has been flattened, burying its residents, triggering panic.

Two brothers call out for an ambulance. “It’s my sister,” says one. “She’s alive, clinging on for dear life.”

It must be very hard to take in what’s just happened. A little face terrified and trapped in a prison of reinforced steel and concrete. “Keep still,” they urge him, as they try to figure out how to rescue him. Crowds gather. They saw away at the rubble, call into holes.

This is no act of God. This was the work of Bashar al-Assad’s air force on the very day the U.N. accused the regime of crimes against humanity and war crimes. A father beckons the camera over. “My children,” he says.

Later, pictures show him carrying the children from the rubble of what we assume was his home. The town of Azaz sits in a large enclave carved out by the rebels in northern Syria, but the regime still holds the town’s military airport. And it’s from there that they have launched deadly airstrikes.

One hit a hospital yesterday.

The residents of Azaz claim the MiG fighters which bombed them weren’t targeting rebel fighters. They attacked civilians, they insist. More than 18,000 have now been killed since the uprising started.