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UN investigators accused Syrian insurgents in war crimes

September 11, 2013, 14:30 UTC+3

Both sides of the conflict guilty of war crimes, report suggests

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GENEVA, September 11. (Itar-Tass) – Syrian rebels, fighting alongside foreign mercenaries, commit “war crimes, including murder, execution without due process, torture, hostage-taking and attacking protected objects. They have besieged and indiscriminately shelled civilian neighborhoods.” These were the findings published in the “Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. “

At the same time, the report admits that “government and pro-government forces have continued to conduct widespread attacks on the civilian population, committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance.” The document is based on investigation conducted from May 15 to July 15 of this year.

Ongoing radicalization

The report indicates that “Anti-government and Kurdish armed groups have recruited and used child soldiers in hostilities,” adding that “the radicalization of anti-government fighters continued.” “The discipline and operational abilities of radical fighters, combined with better access to reliable sponsors, allowed them to outmatch the fractious moderate groups. The most radical, such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), developed their own strongholds in the north,” the report emphasizes.

Experts of the commission which was established in August of 2011, admit that “As prospects for a political settlement stagnate, the warring parties’ willingness to negotiate has been affected by military developments on the ground.” The conflict grows both in terms of the number of participants and spectrum of crimes; torture remains widespread.

War crimes

The report provides evidence that both sides of the conflict is part to war crimes, such as massacres, illegal killings, arrests and detention, hostage-taking, infringement of rights of children. Other violations include rules of combat. “Across the country, hospitals were destroyed and medical personnel targeted,” the document reports.

Human Rights Council

Next Monday the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic chaired by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro will present the report to Human Rights Council during its 24th session in Geneva.

The commission was denied entry into Syria, thus “the information contained in the present report is based on 258 interviews conducted in the region and from Geneva, including via Skype and telephone,” the report notes. 

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