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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid