UN anti-genocide envoy: Syria minorities face reprisal risk

December 21, 2012 03:46

UNITED NATIONS - The UN anti-genocide envoy warned on Thursday that minority groups in Syria, including Syrian President Bashar Assad's fellow Alawites, are at risk of major reprisal attacks as the 21-month-old conflict escalates and sectarian violence increases.

"I am deeply concerned that entire communities risk paying the price for crimes committed by the Syrian government," Adama Dieng, UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said in a statement.

The statement said Alawites and other minorities in Syria were increasingly under threat of large-scale reprisal attacks because they are widely associated with the government and allied militia.

"I urge all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian and human rights law, which prohibits the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identity as well as attacks against civilians not taking direct part in hostilities," Dieng said.

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