Though it isn’t in the news as much these days, the civil war in Syria still rages as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia, continues to bombard the northwestern Idlib province, the last remaining stronghold of the rebel forces.
A British media outlet just published shocking video footage of airstrikes that appear to directly target Syrian civilians and volunteer rescue workers, calling it “evidence of possible war crimes in Syria.”
Caught on video
The U.K.’s Channel 4 obtained exclusive video footage from a citizen journalist and members of the White Helmets, an all-volunteer civilian rescue organization. The riveting footage from multiple cameras appears to show a “double tap” airstrike attack in May that resulted in the death of a White Helmets member.
A “double tap” attack is defined as an initial attack on a target that is followed a short time later by additional strikes with an intent to injure or kill allied fighters, rescue workers, and civilians attempting to respond to the initial strike. The tactic is said to be used by both sides in the Syrian civil war and has been deemed a war crime by international authorities.
Watch the footage below:
A team of White Helmets volunteers and the journalist embedded with them, Abu Yamen, raced to a remote home that had been hit with an airstrike. As they began to search for survivors, however, the jets also returned and more bombs were dropped in the area.
As the team scrambled for cover, one member attempted to save the ambulance by fleeing the scene but was injured an airstrike. He eventually died from his injuries after being brought to a hospital sometime later.
More strikes seemed to almost track the movements of the White Helmets team as they moved from the site of the first strike to the hospital in a town more than 20 miles away. Later, the team is shown removing a woman’s body from the rubble of the home.
“This is a direct targeting of civilians with highly explosive bombs,” said Yamen, the citizen journalist with the rescue group. “They repeatedly targeted a place where people are wounded, and the White Helmets teams.”
Assad and Russia have accused the White Helmets of being in league with the rebel and terrorist groups still opposing his regime in the Idlib province. However, the U.S. supports the humanitarian group, praising them as “heroic first responders.” President Donald Trump’s administration released $6.6 million in funding to the White Helmets last summer.
“The United States Government strongly supports the White Helmets who have saved more than 100,000 lives since the conflict began, including victims of Assad’s chemical weapons attacks,” the State Department stated at the time.
Will anything be done?
Channel 4 reached out to both the Syrian and Russian governments for comment on the footage and claims of an alleged war crime but received no reply. Whether anything comes from this video evidence of an alleged war crime committed by the Syrians and Russians remains to be seen.