A total of 314 civilians, including 85 children and 63 women, were killed in Syria in March, mostly by Bashar Assad regime forces, its backers and the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) reported Monday. Underlining that murder has become common in the war-torn country mostly because of the Syrian regime, the report stated that 78 of the civilians were killed by regime forces. Twenty-four of these civilians were children, while 13 were women. Seventy-six others were killed by the regime's backer Russia, increasing the number of the regime's and its affiliates' casualties to 154. There were also two civil defense personnel among the victims, one killed by regime forces and the other by Russia.
Underlining that regime forces have violated international law more than once, the report said that neither the regime nor Russia issued warnings before any of their attacks.
On March 15, Syrians hit the streets to protest regime attacks on a refugee camp in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, despite a cease-fire and the demilitarized zone set up by Ankara and Moscow.
The protesters carried slogans, some written on foreign bank notes, reading: "Russia's project is to ensure the Assad regime's continuity, to kill the opposition," "The guarantor [Russia] hits Hreitan, Hayyan, Anadan, Kafr Amim, Temaniye, Saraqib and Khan Shaykhun to control customs routes," and "the whole world has a part in the murders of Syrians, destruction of the country and forced displacement of people."
The regime and its supporters have violated the Sochi agreement that banned heavy weaponry in the demilitarized zone to prevent grave causalities numerous times. Since the deal was inked in September, at least 126 civilians have lost their lives in attacks by the regime and its allies and more than 380 civilians have been injured. A new refugee crisis is not just a concern for Turkey but would also have implications for Europe as well. An estimated 700,000 people may arrive in Turkey, possibly attempting to go to Europe.
The YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on the other hand, were responsible for killing 18 civilians last month. Half of these victims were children and one woman.
Meanwhile, the report also expressed that 30 people died due to torture in Syria last month; 26 of them were at the hands of regime forces, while one them was at the hands of the YPG.
Local people living in areas held by the group have long suffered from YPG atrocities. Numerous human rights organizations have documented YPG human rights violations, including torture, recruiting child soldiers and the deliberate disruption of education and health services. The group has confiscated the property of locals and destroyed the homes of people in areas near the Syrian-Turkish border, such as in Ayn al-Arab and Tal Abyad. The group systematically and forcefully displaced locals from their homes to demographically change the region. Due to the brutality of the YPG, Turkey has opened its doors to 512,708 Syrian refugees fleeing from YPG-held areas, while another 300,000 Syrian refugees coming from the region took shelter in Iraq.
According to a detailed October 2018 report of the Interior Ministry's migration management department, almost 20 percent of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees that Turkey hosts came from YPG-held territories, including 20,832 from Hasakah, 141,903 from Raqqa, and 162,973 from Manbij and Ayn al-Arab.