As the eyes of the world remain fixed on Isis, Bashar al-Assad’s forces have killed an estimated 330 civilians in Syria since the start of this year alone, observers claim.
Bombings and chemical attacks like the ones that almost led Britain to war in 2013 have been carried out largely unnoticed as the so-called Islamic State continues its bloody campaign.
Isis has provoked global horror with its filmed beheadings, amputations, crucifixions, massacres and murders, most recently with the burning to death of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh.
The group’s horrific cruelty to civilians is well-documented, particularly the persecution of religious minorities and anyone who does not conform to their violent interpretation of Sharia law.
But whereas Isis gleefully spreads its gory propaganda videos around the world, the regime’s atrocities including the use of banned barrel bombs and chemical weapons, goes undocumented and unnoticed.
President Assad’s forces are fighting a civil war on several fronts – against Isis, other Islamist militias, secular rebel groups and to quash the anti-government sentiment that started in the 2011 Arab Spring.
The London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights chronicled 127 air raids in just 24 hours earlier this week by regime helicopters and planes.
A spokesperson said Britain, the US and other international leaders that “claim to defend human rights” must work harder to stop crimes against humanity being committed daily in Syria.
“It is a shame on those who pretend to respect the Human Rights to just write and publish statements,” he added.
In pictures: Syria conflict
In pictures: Syria conflict
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Syrians carry children amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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Syrians react as they stand amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man carries a girl amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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An injured Syrian man walks out from the rubble of a destroyed building following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian woman makes her way through debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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People stand on the rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the Al-Fardous neighbourhood of Aleppo
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Syrian residents stand amid the rubble of destroyed buildings
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A Syrian resident grasps a mattress amid rubble in the al-Firdous neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo
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A bullet-riddled parking sign stands amid debris in a deserted street leading into the old city of Homs
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A general view shows abandoned buildings on a deserted square in the old city of Homs after Syrian government forces regained control of rebel-controlled areas
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A mosque is pictured through shattered glass in the old city of Homs, as rebel fighters withdrew from the city centre in line with a negotiated withdrawal deal with the government after having held out under tight siege for nearly two years
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Buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad's rule, earning it the nickname of "capital of the revolution"
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Syrian government forces hold up a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad (L) while others raise the national flag on top of a pole in the old city of Homs
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Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad run through Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr crossing after their release by rebels. They were freed as part of a larger deal which saw the last remaining Syrian rebels in central Homs city evacuate their positions and free captives in several locations in northern Syria
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A Syrian woman and two children walk past heavily damaged buildings in the northern city of Aleppo
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A man carries a wounded girl following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Mowasalat neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
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A wounded man sits as he is treated at a makeshift hospital following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Sakhour district of the northern city of Aleppo
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Debris rises in what Free Syrian Army fighters and Islamic rebels said was an operation to strike Al-Sahaba checkpoint, which is considered a gateway to Al-Dayf valley, and remove forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Maarat Al-Nouman, Idlib province
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Men try to put out fire at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
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Civil Defence members try to put out fire
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Survivors react at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
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Residents queue as they wait to receive food aid distributed by the UNRWA at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus
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Belongings of Syrian rebels inside a chapel at Crac des Chevaliers, the world's best preserved medieval Crusader castle in Syria. The village was destroyed in fighting between the government and rebel forces while the castle, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, also has been damaged over the past two years
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Hosen Sabah, a 16-year-old student is comforted by his mother at a hospital in Damascus. Nosen was wounded by a mortar outside his school, while 14 other students were killed and over 80 wounded
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A Free Syrian Army fighter works on a locally made launcher before firing it towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Mork town
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Syrian policemen and citizens inspecting the site of a car bomb at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus. According to Syria's Arab News Agency (SANA), a car bomb explosion has gone off in the countryside of Damascus and initial information say there are casualties, where a car rigged with explosions was remotely detonated at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus during engineering units it was trying to dismantled it
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Opposition fighters carrying a rocket launcher during clashes against government forces in the Sheikh Lutfi area, west of the airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man helps a woman to make her way through debris following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
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A Syrian man reacts as he carries the body of injured boy following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 33 civilians were killed in the attack
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Syrian rescue workers carry the body of a woman following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
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Syrians gather at the site of reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
The Observatory classified attacks in Khan Sheikhoun, Jasim and Doma as “massacres” and recorded deadly strikes in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, Daraa, Rif Dimashq and Deir Ezzor.
Among the 57 civilians killed in Monday’s raids were five children, the Observatory said, and more than 100 others were wounded.
At least 100 fighters, the presumed target of the regime's attacks, were killed in the same strikes, including rebels, Islamists and foreign militants on both sides of the conflict.
The Observatory counted more than 2,000 air strikes by regime forces across Syria in January, killing 271 civilians, including 50 children and dozens of women, and injuring at least 1,000.
The cost of the damage to homes, businesses and the infrastructure could not be calculated and it is estimated that tens of thousands of people continue to be displaced.
Many strikes used barrel bombs, the group claimed. The banned weapons, favoured because of the their cheapness and blast radius, are usually oil drums or gas cylinders packed with explosives and scrap metal that are dropped from helicopters or planes.
A specialist UN Security Council resolution was passed last year to ban their use but monitors have collected evidence from multiple blast sites that they say proves barrel bombs are still raining on civilian areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is calling on the Security Council to issue another resolution condemning al-Assad’s regime for its “indiscriminate bombing” and to order all parties in Syria to stop using barrels bombs or heavy weapons in civilian areas.
A spokesperson called for member countries to “work harder in order to stop the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed daily against the Syrian people, and to refer the file of these crimes to international Criminal Court”.
If China and Russia continue to use their veto to prevent this, special courts should be established to deal with the Syrian regime, the Observatory recommended.
Syria's civil war so far killed more than 203,000 people, including 65,000 civilians and 10,400 children in less than four years, according to the latest estimates.
In its annual world report, Human Rights Watch accused President Assad’s forces and pro-government militias of intensifying attacks on civilian areas as well as illegally arresting, detaining, torturing and forcing the disappearance of opponents.
The international condemnation of the chemical attack on Ghouta in 2013 had not been followed up with justice for victims, the organisation said, and although the subsequent Chemical Weapons Convention saw Syria agree to destroy all declared chemical arms, chlorine gas continues to be used.
Human Rights Watch documented the use of other illegal weapons, including cluster bombs.
“The extremist group Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, were responsible for systematic and widespread violations including targeting civilians, kidnappings, and executions,” the report noted.
The US government is currently investigating allegations of its coalition's air strikes killing a number of civilians during attacks against Isis.Reuse content