Syrian pro-government forces and their jihadist opponents flagrantly violated the laws of war during the battle for Idlib province, UN investigators say.
Civilians endured “unfathomable suffering” when the Syrian military launched a campaign late last year to retake the area, according to a report.
They were subjected to indiscriminate air strikes and ground shelling, as well as arrests, torture and pillaging.
Hundreds of civilians were killed before a ceasefire was agreed in March.
Almost one million were displaced by the fighting and many were forced to live in dire conditions in overcrowded camps or open fields.
Now, the investigators warn, “a perfect storm is in the making” as the war-torn country faces both the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.
More than 380,000 people have been killed and 13.2 million others – half of Syria’s pre-war population – have been displaced inside and outside the country since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.