New UN report highlights plight of Syrian civilians
'Civilians, Syrians of all backgrounds, have been the subject of crimes against humanity and war crimes,' a UN inquiry commission notes

The war in Syria has left civilians in the country stuck between government and anti-government armed forces, a new UN report said Thursday.

"While fought mostly by Syrians and largely contained within Syrian territory, the war is increasingly driven by international and regional powers, primarily in accordance with their respective geostrategic interests," the latest report by the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said.

"With no end in sight, the Syrian conflict has continued to intensify. Civilians, Syrians of all backgrounds, have been the subject of crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as other serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations of their human rights," the report said.

The Syrian government did not allow the commission to enter into country to investigate war crimes, Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said at a press conference in Geneva.

"A resonant cry for peace and accountability rings out," Pinheiro said.

There was no comprehensive and holistic response to the Syrian crisis at the UN Security Council, Vitit Muntarbhorn, member of the inquiry commission, said.

"The government has continued aerially bombarding civilian-inhabited localities. Areas of Aleppo, Dayr Az-Zawr, Idlib, Damascus and Dara’a have come under intense attack, leading to widespread civilian casualties. Some attacks were directed towards civilian gathering places, specifically markets and transport hubs," the report said.

Government forces have committed gross violations of human rights and the war crimes of murder, torture, rape, sexual violence and targeting of civilians, the report noted.

According to the report, anti-government armed groups in the country also shelled civilian-inhabited towns and neighborhoods in Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib and Latakia.

Also, Syria has become the world’s most dangerous country for journalists, with at least 83 killed since late 2011, the report added.


Over 2,000 Syrians drown

As thousands of Syrians place their lives in the hands of human smugglers and traffickers, attempting perilous journeys in unseaworthy boats across the Mediterranean, over 2,000 Syrian refugees have drowned in efforts to reach safety in Europe since 2011, the report said.

"We must do more for the victims of this conflict who have been forced to flee their homes and to seek protection and refuge under the direst of circumstances," Pinheiro said, adding: "It is imperative for the world community to act with humanity and compassion by developing legal channels of migration that increases the protection space for asylum seekers and refugees."

Last Modified: 2015-09-04 07:59:46
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