News / Middle East

UN's Pinheiro: Syria in ‘Free Fall’

Truth Commission member, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, speaks during annual progress report in Brasilia, Brazil, May 2013.
Truth Commission member, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, speaks during annual progress report in Brasilia, Brazil, May 2013.
Margaret Besheer
— The chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said Monday that the war-torn country is in a “free fall.” Paulo Pinheiro told the U.N. General Assembly that the international community must act “decisively” to bring the war to a close.

Pinheiro and his two colleagues have been investigating human rights abuses in Syria since August 2011. Although the Syrian government has not allowed the team inside the country, they have interviewed scores of people who have fled to neighboring countries.

Pinheiro scolded member states' inaction, saying the Syrian conflict has been a “chronicle of missed opportunities” and will not find its own peaceful solution.

“We cannot continue to recite a litany of violations and abuses to little effect either on the warring parties inside Syria or those walking along the corridors of power. It is not enough to be appalled," he said. "There is an international obligation to do what you must to bring this war to a close. This will require the international community not only to recognize, but also to demand - also to demand - a diplomatic solution.”

Syria deaths from conflict, updated July 26, 2013Syria deaths from conflict, updated July 26, 2013
x
Syria deaths from conflict, updated July 26, 2013
Syria deaths from conflict, updated July 26, 2013
Pinheiro said the war remains deadlocked with both sides under the illusion that a military victory is within their reach. He chided countries that send arms to the warring sides, saying they will only prolong the suffering of the Syrian people.

He blamed the Syrian government for indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombings across the country, and he said armed opposition groups also have shelled towns resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.

He listed violations including rape, the disappearance of thousands of civilians and attacks on food supplies, noting that there have been strong overtones of sectarianism in many of the violations committed.

Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari blamed armed groups and terrorists - as well as Western governments and Arab Gulf kingdoms - for the country's conflict because they have sent arms and financial support to the rebels.

Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said more than 100,000 people have been killed in the more than two-year long conflict.

  • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad shakes hands with military personnel during his visit to a military site at Darya area on the 68th anniversary of army day, August 1, 2013.
  • An injured youth at a vegetable market hit by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at al-Mashhad district in Aleppo, July 31, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter sits on a sofa along a street in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 31, 2013
  • Syrians refugees try to enter a truck which will transport them back to their homeland at the Al-Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, July 30, 2013.
  • A Syrian refugee displays sweets for sale during the month of Ramadan at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, July 30, 2013. 
  • Syrians refugees try to enter a truck which will transport them back to their homeland at the Al-Zaatri refugee camp, Mafraq, near the border with Syria, July 30, 2013. 
  • Free Syrian Army fighters take up position on the stairs of a building in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 23, 2013.
  • A man points towards a burning car, caused by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Damascus, July 23, 2013.
  • In this image taken from video from the Shaam News Network, fighters from the Free Syrian Army target regime forces in Aleppo, Syria, July 22, 2013.
  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, columns of smoke billow after heavy bombing, in the countryside outside of Aleppo, Syria, July 22, 2013.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army are seen through smoke as they walks along a damaged street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, July 22, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters take their positions in a room as they try to locate snipers in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighborhood, July 21, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters eat their iftar meal as they break fast, in Aleppo's Karm al-Jabal neighborhood, July 21, 2013.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 30, 2013 4:58 AM
What was happening in Somalia for the past 22 years in slow motion is going on now in Syria with super high speed. Indiscriminate shelling, destruction of cities and institutions, rape, killing of women and children are all ingredients for "perfect failed state". Now Somalia is fragmented and beyond repair. If Syrians fail to reverse this trend of violence very quickly,...their next stop will be at Hell on Earth!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid