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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs