UN: al-Assad, ISIL, al-Qaeda committing Mass Atrocities, Endangering Int’l Security

UN News Centre | ( Office of the High Commission for Human Rights) – –

Mass atrocities by Government forces and non-State armed groups continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians and contributing to a spillover of violence affecting international peace and stability, a United Nations-appointed panel said today.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria emphasized that with the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, “risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable.”

The Commission’s latest report, based on 480 interviews and a wealth of documentary material, chronicles the human cost of the Syrian conflict that began in March 2011. The impact has been particularly grave for women and children, whose most basic rights are being violated every day.

“Hundreds of civilians are dying each day as the fighting goes on with no regard to law or to conscience,” said Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission.

Women have been lashed for not abiding by the dress code decreed by the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a news release on the Commission’s report. In Ar-Raqqah, children as young as 10 are being recruited and trained at ISIS camps. The group has also forcibly displaced Kurdish communities in northern Syria. Journalists and other media workers are systematically targeted.

In areas of Syria under the control of ISIS, particularly in the north and north-east of the country, Fridays are regularly marked by executions, amputations and lashings in public squares, the report states. Civilians, including children, are urged to watch. Bodies of those killed are placed on display for several days, terrorizing the local population.

The Commission reported that “members of ISIS have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Aleppo and Ar-Raqqah governorates including acts of torture, murder, enforced disappearances and forcible displacement.”

Other non-State armed groups continue to commit violations, including summary executions and shelling deliberately targeting civilians. For instance, Homs city has been rocked by over a dozen car bombs since this April. The armed group Jabhat Al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for some of these attacks. Meanwhile, armed groups continue to shell Government-controlled areas of Aleppo and Damascus, causing civilian deaths and injuries.

The report stated that the Government also commits violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, with impunity. Between January and July, hundreds of men, women and children were killed every week by the Government’s indiscriminate firing of missiles and barrel bombs into civilian-inhabited areas. In some instances, there is clear evidence that civilian gatherings were deliberately targeted, constituting massacres, as detailed in the report.

The Commission reported that Government soldiers at checkpoints prevented injured civilians from reaching hospitals. Hospitals in restive areas continue to be targeted and Government forces refused to allow aid deliveries of essential medicines and surgical supplies. Humanitarian aid continued to be obstructed as a weapon of war.

Meanwhile, in Government prisons, detainees were subjected to horrific torture and sexual assault. The methods employed and conditions of detention support the Commission’s long-standing findings of systematic torture and mass deaths of detainees.

In April and May, Government forces used chemical agents, likely chlorine, in eight separate incidents in western Syria, the Commission found. Children are increasingly recruited by non-State armed groups and by the Government’s Popular Committees to participate in hostilities. The breakdown of family and community networks, often due to the death or disappearance of men, has left women and girls vulnerable and primarily responsible for the care of their families.

“The international community’s failure in its most elemental duties – to protect civilians, halt and prevent atrocities and create a path toward accountability – has been matched on the ground by an abandonment of even the pretence of an adherence to norms of international law. As can be seen today, this has grave implications for the entire region,” the report added.

Several States continue to deliver mass shipments of arms, artillery and aircraft to the Syrian Government, or contribute with logistical and strategic assistance. Meanwhile, other States, organizations and individuals support armed groups with weapons and financial support. The weapons they transfer to the warring parties in Syria are used in the perpetration of war crimes. The Commission is recommending the imposition of an arms embargo and called on the international community to curb the proliferation and supply of weapons.

“Accountability must be part of any future settlement if it is to result in an enduring peace. Too many lives have been lost and shattered,” stated Mr. Pinheiro.

Via UN Office of the High Commission of Human Rights

The full Report is here [pdf]


Related video added by Juan Cole:

CCTV News: “Syria says militant confesses to deadly car bombs” [against Druze]

3 Responses

  1. Some people have charged that the Free Syrian Army is, or perhaps one should say was, a creature or the CIA. Other people have gone to some trouble to try to discredit this line of thinking.
    I find it hard to overlook 50 years of CIA history. The CIA is an organization that makes a habit out of overthrowing governments that the leadership of the USA is not pleased with.
    When a woman says that a person has raped her the natural thing to do is to believe that it is probably true. A trial is needed to try to confirm the allegation of course as some women especially in the Jim Crow era were known to have lied.
    It is not hard to imagine that Prez. Assad had a lot of enemies inside of Syria dating back to his father’s era.
    It is also not hard to imagine that Prez. Assad and his backers would think that those challenging his rule could be encouraged by the CIA. It is also not hard to imagine that anyone familiar with the stories of CIA involvement in the overthrown of governments in the past could suspect CIA involvement in Syria even before Assad started killing peaceful protestors.
    Therefore from the point of view of Assad and his supportes his attack on the protestors was a pre emptive attack. The attack was clearly a criminal act and a strategic mistake. Considering who his father was it was a mistake that he was probably destined to make. He is what his last name says that he is.
    None the less the civil war in Syria is a battle ground of the US Global War or terror against the planet. In this war Israel and Saudi Arabia are important US allies. The entire planet, including most of the US population are victims of this war of terror, but at the moment Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are the targets in the cross hairs. Assad would have fallen long ago were he not seen by Iran and Russia as an important Ally in their defence.

  2. Building a gas pipeline takes patience. But now that international peace is officially at stake we finally can have the necessary war.

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