United Nations: UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said that weapons supplied to the Syrian government and opposition are escalating the conflict.
"The provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents is fueling the violence," Pillay told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council.
"Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs."
While Pillay did not name countries, Russia and Iran are key suppliers to President Bashar al-Assad`s government. The Gulf states, notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have given weapons to the increasingly well-armed opposition.
Pillay said the government and opposition are carrying out "serious" new rights violations including attacks on hospitals. She renewed an appeal for the 15-nation council to refer the Syria conflict to the International Criminal Court.
The UN human rights commissioner acknowledged that it would be a "political" decision however. Russia, Syria`s key ally, has blocked past moves to impose sanctions and make an ICC referral.
Pillay told the council that the conflict, now in its 16th month, was becoming "increasingly sectarian."
She said hundreds of people remain trapped in Deir Ezzor and in the old city district of Homs "because of the increasing use of heavy weaponry, shelling and ongoing armed clashes."
Helicopter gunships have "indiscriminately" fired at people in Deir Ezzor causing many casualties, Pillay told the council.
With the UN leadership considering the future of the UN monitors in Syria, Pillay said she told the council that it must "support and strengthen" the UN Supervision Mission in Syria so that it can "effectively" monitor events.
The 90-day mandate of UNSMIS ends on July 20. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to hand a report to the Security Council tomorrow setting out his recommendations.
With Agency Inputs