Keywords: International Humanitarian Law; Classification of Armed Conflicts; Principle of Distinction; Participation of Civilians to Hostilities; Military Objective; Air Warfare.
The article analyses under the lens of "ius in bello" the US raid at the Syrian airbase in Shayrat and military operations carried out against organised armed groups located in Syria and Iraq by States participating at the international coalition "Inherent Resolve". In particular it focuses on the complex qualification of armed conflicts in the area, particularly in light of the possibility to identify a parallel international armed conflict between Syria and coalition States involved in attacks against organized armed groups based in its territory, in line with the recent position endorsed by the 2016 ICRC Commentary to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Subsequently it scrutinizes the application of the principle of distinction in relation to attacks against individuals and objects. In light of relevant practice it focuses on interpretative challenges related to the targeting of individuals due to the endorsement of legal standards departing from the ICRC Interpretative Guidance on direct participation in hostilities, as well as on the lawfulness of attacks against economic targets which have represented a major shift in legal paradigms in comparison to previous State and scholar positions.