Man mourns after Syrian jets strike northern town 370.
(photo credit: reuters)
GENEVA - Syrian government forces and allied shabbiha militia have
committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder and
torture in what appears to be state-directed policy, UN human rights
investigators said on Wednesday.
Syrian rebels fighting to topple
Syrian President Bashar Assad have also committed war crimes but these
"did not reach the gravity, frequency and scale" of those carried out by
the army and security forces, they said.
"The commission found
reasonable grounds to believe that government forces and the shabbiha
had committed the crimes against humanity of murder and of torture, war
crimes and gross violations of international human rights law and
international humanitarian law, including unlawful killing, torture,
arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, indiscriminate attack,
pillaging and destruction of property," said the 102-page report by the
independent investigators led by Paulo Pinheiro.
Both government forces and armed insurgents had violated rights of children during the 17-month-old conflict, it said.
AbuZayd, an American expert serving as senior investigator alongside
Pinheiro, told Reuters: "We have identified both parties as guilty of
war crimes and of course a greater number and of bigger variety from the
"What happened on the government side appears
to be a policy of the state. It is not just widespread but similar
large-scale complex operations, how they are carried out, the way the
military and security work together," she said.
inquiry into a massacre in Houla north of Homs in late May, the
investigators said on Wednesday that government forces and Shabbiha
fighters were responsible for the killings of more than 100 civilians,
nearly half of them children.
The investigators said they would
update their confidential list of suspects or units responsible for
violations and hand it over to UN rights boss Navi Pillay next month.War plane strikes Syrian town, killing 80, doctor says
the latest violence in Syria, an air strike by a Syrian jet in the
northern town of Azaz killed 30 people on Wednesday and wounded 150, a
local doctor said.
The doctor, who identified himself only by his
first name Mohammad, was speaking at a hospital in Azaz. Activists had
earlier said at least 30 people were killed.
screaming and shouting "God is greatest", carried bloodied bodies away
from collapsed concrete buildings, video published by activists on
Syrian forces fighting the 17-month-old revolt against
Assad have increasingly used helicopter gunships and fighter jets
against the rebels, weaponry that the lightly armed opposition fighters
fighter jet flew over the town and first it fired at a car, and blew it
up. Then it started firing on a street nearby and several buildings
collapsed, there was nothing we could do. I expect the death toll will
climb as we keep digging through the rubble," the activist, who called
himself Anwar, told Reuters.
The activist video showed crowds of
residents trying to untangle steel reinforcement bars and pull away a
giant slab of concrete. The small arm of a child, covered in dust, could
be seen beneath it. "This is a real catastrophe," Anwar said. "An
entire street was destroyed."
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the footage.