Syrian Rebel Group Parades Civilians in Cages to Deter Regime Attacks

Video shows caged civilians in Syria used to deter airstrikes.

The text under the YouTube video states that the group intends to build 1,000 cages to be placed across Eastern Ghouta in public places that have been targeted by the Assad regime.

“Human shielding” is prohibited by international law.

The suburb is the site of the 2013 chemical attack that almost led the United States to intervene militarily. The U.N. secretary general called it the “most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since [1998 in Iraq].” Video of the aftermath of the attack showed disoriented and visibly sick adults and children struggling to breath. The attack killed more than 1,400 people, including 400 children.

Jaysh al Islam is the largest armed group in that region fighting the government and is aligned with the Salafist movement, a fundamentalist division of Sunni Islam. They are led by Salafist Zahran Alloush, who was released from prison by the government in 2011, although other more moderate political prisoners remain imprisoned. Saudi Arabia is reported to provide considerable support to Alloush and his faction.

“We want parties to the conflict to comply with international law,” the official said.

Jaysh al Islam defended the cages by saying that a pro-regime group did the same practice in several other towns a few weeks ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Those cages were placed on the roofs of houses to prevent rebels and Islamist groups from targeting those areas.