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Most Syrians killed in unlawful conventional attacks: UN

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:25

United Nations: A vast majority of people in strife-torn Syria was killed in unlawful attacks using conventional weapons such as guns and mortars, with children being the major casualties, according to a UN report.

The report by the UN-appointed International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said civilians continue to face daily indiscriminate shelling and bombardment by government forces and that extremist anti-government groups have also targeted civilians in attacks across the northern governorates.

The vast majority of the casualties resulted from unlawful attacks using conventional weapons such as guns and mortars, Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the Commission, said.

"The Government has continued its relentless campaign of air bombardment and artillery shelling across the country," he said as he introduced the report to the Human Rights Council yesterday.

The report also called for a halt to weapons supply to the Government and the rebels.

"Arms transfers should not occur where there is a real risk that they will be used in the Commission of crimes against humanity, violations of international humanitarian law, or war crimes. In Syria, this is a tragic reality," Pinheiro said.

The failure to bring about a settlement to the conflict has led it to deepen in its intransigence and also to widen "expanding to new actors and to unimaginable crimes", he said.

The over two and half year long civil war in Syria has left more than 100,000 people dead and forced millions to leave the country.

The latest diplomatic efforts in Geneva involving Russia and the US aimed at removing the Syrian chemical arsenal "may form the bedrock of a broader negotiation leading to a political settlement of the conflict," Pinheiro said.
The US-Russia deal called for the dismantling of Syria`s chemical stockpile by mid-2014.
Since July 15, the Commission documented unlawful attacks in 12 of the 14 governorates, with particularly intense shelling in the cities and surrounding areas of Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.

Cluster munitions continue to be dropped on civilian areas, notably in Idlib governorate, Pinheiro said highlighting some of the findings since the latest report produced by the Commission.


First Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:25

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