Syria stuck in `grim spiral of violence`: UN

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 12:48

United Nations: August was the worst month for casualties so far in Syria`s 18-month conflict, the United Nations has said, warning that the worsening "grim spiral of violence" could have dangerous implications for the country`s neighbours.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry told the UN Security Council yesterday that the conflict in the President Bashar al-Assad led regime is becoming increasingly militarised, with the government`s indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas and intensified operations from the armed opposition.

"The month of August registered the highest number of casualties thus far, and this toll is growing," Serry told the Council during a briefing on the situation in the Middle East.

As conditions deteriorate in the troubled nation, "we see dangerous implications for Syria`s neighbours," he said.

"As we are facing a grim spiral of violence, our objectives remain the same: to stop the bloodshed and human rights violations, to alleviate human suffering and to seek a political solution through a Syrian-led process of transition and dialogue," he said.

While Serry did not give details of the number of those killed in the Syrian conflict last month, the UN estimates that 19,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against Assad began some 18 months ago.

About 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Syria, which was mandated by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, states that indiscriminate attacks against civilians are now occurring on a daily basis in many areas of the country including Aleppo, Damascus, Dera, Larakia, Idlib and Homs.

A report by a United Nations independent panel probing abuses committed during the country`s ongoing conflict said, "Gross violations of human rights have grown in number, in pace and in scale. Civilians, many of them children, are bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence."

The report, which is based on the Commission`s investigations and interviews conducted up until two weeks ago, had found reasonable grounds to believe that government forces and members of the government-controlled militia known as the Shabiha, had committed war crimes, gross violations against human rights and crimes against humanity.

Chair of the Commission Paulo Pinheiro said the conflict is spilling over into neighbouring countries, threatening stability and security in the region.
In his briefing to the UN Human Rights Council, he called on the international community to deploy renewed efforts to support the mission of the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, to stop the violence and find a durable solution to the crisis.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 12:48

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