Since the Syrian army entered Syrian cities in mid-2011, most cities have been divided between regime-controlled areas and armed opposition-controlled areas. Syrian city inhabitants are the primary sufferers of this division. This division is present in Aleppo, which is divided into Eastern and Western sections, and in the Damascus region, with damascene suburbs and the area surrounding Gota primarily under armed opposition control, and the province’s center and capitol under regime control.
The regime has arbitrarily dropped barrel bombs on neighborhoods outside of their control, destroying property and killing and wounding large numbers of civilians. In response to this, armed opposition groups are bombing areas under regime control (in Damascus and Aleppo), using poorly-directed mortar shells and homemade explosives, all with high margins of error. Opposition groups’ shelling may cause less destruction than that of the regime, but they still qualify as indiscriminate attacks—in breach of international law.
The Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC) works to record evidence of these violations and collect the names of these victims. In pursuit of this objective, the SJAC has held meetings with witnesses and victims’ families in regime-controlled areas in Aleppo and Damascus, in order to document the opposition groups’ indiscriminate shelling operations. These operations involve indiscriminate shelling and missile attacks on civilian areas, allegedly with the aim of targeting regime security forces, the military, and secret police staying in these areas.