News / Middle East

Syrian Conflict Carries Threat of Regional War

A girl gestures as she walks on the rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's district of al-Sukari, June 17, 2014.
A girl gestures as she walks on the rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's district of al-Sukari, June 17, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
U.N. investigators are warning the Syrian conflict is threatening the entire region.  The four-member Commission of Inquiry on Syria says a regional war in the Middle East draws ever closer. 

The latest report documents the extent and violence of the abuse and suffering being endured by the Syrian people after more than three years of war.  It also warns what had been a localized state war can no longer be contained.

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry says the most dangerous aspect of these developments is the rise of the sectarian threat.  It considers this a direct consequence of the dominance of extremist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Commission member Vitit Muntarbhorn saif the Commission predicted a long time ago the dangers of a spillover of the Syrian conflict from its borders into those of its regional neighbors.     

“And, that is very sadly being realized in reality today ... we are possibly on the cusp of a regional war ... and it is a regional war where many radical elements are involved, with many backers.  And, also the flow of arms coming in from outside, which is sadly aggravating the situation in terms of escalation,” said Muntarbhorn.

Muntarbhorn said the Syrian conflict was not sectarian when it began, but with time sectarian elements have crept in.  

The Commission's latest update covers March 15 to June 15.  As in previous investigations, the Syrian government has denied the Commission entry into the country.  But the Commission has compiled a large and compelling list of violations and atrocities committed by all parties through eyewitness accounts of victims.

The Commission said information gathered from more than 3,000 interviews indicates a massive number of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

Commission Chairman Paulo Pinheiro said the group has received thousands of photographs of bodies of people allegedly killed in government military facilities in Syria.

“Many are emaciated, almost all bear marks of horrific abuse including strangulation, mutilation, open wounds, burns and bruising.  Such injuries are consistent with torture methods previously documented by the Commission...  Victims describe to our investigators and to ourselves the agony of being encircled, shelled and bombarded while slowly starving,” he said.  

The report describes targeting of civilians and indiscriminate attacks on civilian and protected objects.  It speaks of schools being reduced to rubble, of hospitals coming under attack, and entire residential neighborhoods being destroyed.  

The Commissioners said a political solution was the only way to end the war.  But they note the warring parties are under the illusion they can win a military victory.  This is leading to an escalation of unprecedented violence because the perpetrators have no fear of consequences.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid