News / Middle East

UN Officials: War Crimes Now 'The Rule' in Syria

A 14-year-old fighter, whom activists say is the youngest in the Khadraa brigade operating under the Free Syrian Army, chats with his fellow fighters in Deir al-Zor, July 9, 2013.
A 14-year-old fighter, whom activists say is the youngest in the Khadraa brigade operating under the Free Syrian Army, chats with his fellow fighters in Deir al-Zor, July 9, 2013.
VOA News
Aid groups and United Nations officials are pleading with the Syrian government and armed opposition groups to allow access to unarmed civilians, saying crimes against humanity "are the rule" as fighting rages on in the Syrian civil war.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović told members of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday the conflict is claiming about 5,000 lives a month and that there are documented cases of children being detained, tortured and executed. He said the number of incidents that can be classified as massacres has been steadily increasing.

U.N. officials place the blame both on government forces and armed opposition groups, charging both have prevented humanitarian aid from reaching civilians.  

Šimonović said, at times, civilians trying to flee the fighting have been stopped at government checkpoints only to be sent back to their deaths.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said Tuesday the Syrian refugee crisis is now the worst since the Rwandan genocide, with nearly 1.8 million people registered in neighboring countries.

Many aid groups say the crisis has rapidly depleted their resources.

The head of the World Food Program said in an interview with VOA that it will run out of money by the end of August. During a stop in Beirut, Ertharin Cousin said by the end of the year, four million inside Syria and three million outside will need emergency feeding, costing the WFP $168 million a month.

The United Nations launched a record $5.1 billion appeal last month to cope with the growing humanitarian crisis.

The refugee crisis

Many refugee camps are also feeling the strain. A camp set up last year in Iraqi Kurdistan to accommodate 25,000 people is now hosting about twice that number, with many families doubling up in tents.The sewage system cannot cope with the demand and Iraqi Kurdish authorities have repeatedly voiced frustration at the lack of outside support for the displaced Syrians within their territory.

A representative for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday it has been doing everything it can to meet the humanitarian needs of its people. He also blamed many of the problems on terrorists, some of whom have infiltrated Syria from other countries. The Assad government often uses the term terrorist to describe opposition forces.

Violence in and around Syria has continued despite calls by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a cease-fire during Ramadan.

A roadside bomb detonated near the Syrian-Lebanese border Tuesday, wounding at least two people.  

Meanwhile, gunmen backing President Assad have killed seven members of a reconciliation team working in Homs province.

The killings happened Monday in the village of Hajar Abyad. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the area is a stronghold for pro-government militia and that the men were Sunni Muslims.

The reconciliation committee members were part of an effort to convince warring parties in Syria to halt the fighting that has stretched on for more than two years.

Homs is located at a strategic crossroad linking the capital, Damascus, with army bases in coastal regions controlled by Mr. Assad's Alawite sect. The Alawites are an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated majority Sunni Syria for decades.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sonja blohmi from: New York
July 17, 2013 9:40 AM
Obama is slowly getting the USA into this war. Obama is a horrible leader.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid