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Amnesty: Aleppo Attacks May Amount to War Crimes

A man holds an injured boy after what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and hit a school and a residential building in Seif al-Dawla neighborhood of Aleppo, May 3, 2015.

Syrian government forces and opposition fighters have carried out attacks in Aleppo, the country's largest city, that may be war crimes and crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said in a new report Tuesday.

Basing its findings on interviews with more than 100 people who lived or worked in Aleppo, Amnesty described military attacks since January that included dropping "barrel bombs and other imprecise explosive weapons" on markets, mosques, hospitals and schools.

The report also cites mortar attacks by rebels, as well as abductions and mistreatment of prisoners by both sides, but says government forces are responsible for most of the rights violations.

"Widespread atrocities, in particular the vicious and unrelenting aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods by government forces, have made life for civilians in Aleppo increasingly unbearable," Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said in a statement. "These reprehensible and continual strikes on residential areas point to a policy of deliberately and systematically targeting civilians in attacks that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Amnesty called on all fighters in Syria to end attacks on civilians, as well as the use of any imprecise weapons, torture and abductions. It also reiterated calls for the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

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