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UN: War Crimes 'Rampant' in Syria

  • Margaret Besheer

United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arabic Republic Chairman Paulo Pinheiro speaks during a news conference at U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 8, 2016.

United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arabic Republic Chairman Paulo Pinheiro speaks during a news conference at U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 8, 2016.

The head of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria said Monday that crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated by Syrian government forces and the Islamic State group.

"War crimes by the billigerents are rampant ... this carnage has to end,” commission chair Sérgio Pinheiro told reporters at the United Nations in New York. “Indiscriminate attacks must stop. Sieges have to be lifted.”

The panel also criticized the “direct and active” military involvement of other countries in the conflict, saying Syria has become a “multisided proxy war.”

In its 11th report, covering July 2015 to January 2016, the panel warns that “the fractured Syrian state is on the brink of collapse.”

The three-member commission conducted more than 400 interviews and collected other data to prepare its 30-page report, but it is still denied access to Syria by authorities.

“This is a big obstacle,” Pinheiro said.

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