BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighborhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition or to cause disproportionate harm to them, an international human rights group said Thursday.
The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts in and around the capital, Damascus, and the central city of Hama, according to a 38-page report by Human Rights Watch. The New York-based group said the deliberate destruction violated international law, and called for an immediate end to the practice.
“Wiping entire neighborhoods off the map is not a legitimate tactic of war,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher for HRW. “These unlawful demolitions are the latest additions to a long list of crimes committed by the Syrian government.”
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