Leading German daily tabloid Das Bild has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal."
According to the article ran by the medium, the Russian army is not only providing support to the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in his crimes, but also involved in the bombing of Syrians.
This week, humanitarian organizations warned of a sharp deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Syria as a result of Russian airstrikes.
According to Bild, the airstrikes began to target "border crossings between Syria and Turkey, and the roads used to deliver food, water, and medicines." An important checkpoint of Bab al-Salam, where trucks delivering food, fuel, and essential civilian supplies in Syria used to gather, was impacted three times over the past five days.
"Another humanitarian catastrophe is looming there as a result," Director of Mercy Corps' operations in North Syria and Turkey stressed. According to him, the charity organization was able to deliver only one-fifth of the planned volume of food since the beginning of the Russian campaign in Syria.Source:
According to UN report, Russian airstrikes have also destroyed 10 bakery plants supplying bread to almost 200,000 people in the Syrian Idlib province since Nov. 24. Several mills and grain elevators were covered by the airstrikes as well. The sewage treatment plant was also destroyed in the ISIS-controlled Aleppo province, although it was passed by Russia as an Islamic State's oil refinery.
Exclusive report obtained from Aleppo Syria reveal on Monday, Jan. 11th Russian warplanes pounded an elementary school in the town of Khan Tooman killing scores of children. This heinous attack was simultaneous with a raid by the Iranian regime sectarian militants in coordination with the Russian airplanes.
The area of attack is under the control of the Free Syrian Army. Three consecutive attacks on this school has left more than 35 children killed and over 90 others wounded. The children were during examination when the attacks took place.
Both the Observatory and the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) put the civilian death toll from Russian strikes at between 1,000 and 1,200.
A similar picture is revealed by refugee movements since 30 September when the bombing campaign began. Over a hundred thousand refugees have fled to the Turkish and Jordanian borders. Between 5 and 22 October last year the UN reported that Russian air strikes led to the displacement of 120,000 people from Aleppo, Hama and Idlib.
Under the doctrine of "command responsibility," which was first established in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and first applied after World War I, top officials can be prosecuted for failing to stop war crimes and other atrocities that they were aware of, he said.
"The use of barrel bombing is a war crime. The use of indiscriminate attacks on civilians is a war crime," he said. "To the extent that the Russian or Iranian governments have provided economic assistance, military assistance, and the presence of advisors or supporters, any crimes that are being committed by the Syrian military are also attributable to those who assist them, namely the Iranians and the Russians."
In addition to over 2,000 barrel bombs the Assad regime has dropped on civilians since July, there is evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against civilians and employed systematic torture to kill at least 11,000 civilians in custody. All of these actions could form the basis for future prosecutions against the Assad military and top Syrian officials, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Any accountability for war crimes in Syria is probably years away, and Russia has already vetoed efforts to refer the Syria charges to the International Criminal Court. But if a prosecution happens, the experts say, Putin could be held responsible just as Taylor was.
"The Russians are walking into a situation where they could be held criminally responsible," said Stephen Rapp, who served as the United States ambassador at large for war crimes from 2009 until this year. "If you aid the Syrian air force in committing war crimes such as dropping barrel bombs on civilians, you can find yourself held responsible right up to the top, including President Putin."
As Russian involvement in Syria increases, those who track war crimes are watching not just Assad, but also Putin.