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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid