UN: World powers responsible for failing to stop Syria war crimes

UN: World powers responsible for failing to stop Syria war crimes

All sides in Syria's civil war are using shelling and siege tactics to punish civilians and big powers bear responsibility for allowing such war crimes to persist, U.N. human rights investigators said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

In their latest report documenting atrocities in Syria, they called again on the U.N. Security Council to refer grave violations of the rules of war to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

"The Security Council bears responsibility for allowing the warring parties to violate these rules with impunity," the report by the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria said.

"Such inaction has provided the space for the proliferation of actors in the Syrian Arab Republic, each pursuing its own agenda and contributing to the radicalization and escalation of violence."

Divided world powers have supported both sides in Syria's three-year-old conflict and a diplomatic deadlock has exacerbated the bloodshed.

The independent investigators, led by Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro, said that fighters and their commanders may be held accountable for crimes, but also states which transfer weapons to Syria.

Syrian government forces under President Bashar al-Assad have besieged towns including the Old City of Homs, shelling relentlessly and depriving them of food as part of a "starvation until submission" campaign, the report said.

It said the Syrian air force had dropped barrel bombs on Aleppo with "shocking intensity", killing hundreds of civilians and injuring many more.

Insurgents fighting to topple Assad, especially foreign Islamic fighters including the al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS, have stepped up attacks on civilians, taken hostages, executed prisoners and set off car bombs to spread terror, it said.

The 75-page report, covering July 15-January 20, is the seventh by the United Nations since the inquiry was set up in September 2011, six months after the anti-Assad revolt began.

The investigators have not been allowed into Syria, but their latest findings were based on 563 interviews conducted by Skype or by telephone with victims and witnesses still in the country or in person with refugees in surrounding countries.

All sides have violated the rules of war embodied in the Geneva Conventions, according to the team of two dozen who include former U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte.

It has now drawn up four confidential lists of suspects.

Despite some tactical gains by Syrian government forces backed by more foreign combat forces of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi militia, the fighting has reached a stalemate, causing significant casualties and material losses, the report said.

"The government relied extensively on the superior firepower of its air force and artillery, while non-state armed groups increasingly resorted to methods of asymmetric warfare, such as suicide bombs and use of improved explosive devices."

As part of a strategy aimed at weakening the insurgents and breaking the will of their popular base, government forces have besieged and bombarded civilian areas, it said.

"Partial sieges aimed at expelling armed groups turned into tight blockades that prevented the delivery of basic supplies, including food and medicine, as part of a 'starvation until submission' campaign."

Rebels throughout Syria have "inflicted severe physical or mental pain or suffering on civilian populations in areas under their control", including on prisoners, it said.

Referring to the northern area of Raqqa that is under control of an al Qaeda affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the report said: "The acts committed by non-state armed groups ... in areas under their control against the civilian population constitute torture and inhuman treatment as a war crime and, in the context of [Raqqa], as a crime against humanity."

Rebels have encircled Nubl and Zahra, besieging 45,000 people in the two Shi'ite towns in Aleppo province, it said.

"The siege is imposed by groups affiliated to the Islamic Front, Jaish Al Mujahedeen, Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Syrian Revolutionary Front by checkpoints erected around the area and by cutting off their electrical and water supply lines."

The war, which enters its fourth year next week, has become "deeply fragmented and localized", with multiple front lines involving different parties with shifting priorities, according to the report.

Kurdish forces in northeastern provinces were fighting radical Islamic armed groups in a "distinct sub-conflict".

Thousands of foreign fighters have joined the fighting, fuelling the sectarian dimension of the conflict that threatens to destabilize the wider region, the investigators said.

War crimes had been committed on both sides, including torture, massacres, rapes and recruitment of child soldiers.

"Government forces are conducting a sniper campaign in Bustan Al Qasr [Aleppo]. On one day alone in October, doctors treated five men shot in the groin. The same month, six pregnant women were shot in the abdomen," the report said.

On the rebel side, a 26-year-old man was detained on the ground of his sexual orientation in October 2013. "He was beaten and hung by his arms from a ceiling by ISIS in Raqqa. On 31 October, a school headmistress was publicly lashed by ISIS in Raqqa for not wearing a hijab [Islamic head covering]."

Rising commodity prices create preconditions for potential strengthening of currencies in CIS - expert
Rising commodity prices create preconditions for potential strengthening of currencies in CIS - expert
Azerbaijan names number of sold cars in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan names number of sold cars in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan discloses volume of non-oil products exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan discloses volume of non-oil products exported to Turkey
Loading Bars
Latest
Palestinians resume rocket attacks on southern Israel - army
Saudi Arabia to lift travel ban on citizens from May 17
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 658,000 in past day, WHO reports
Two dead, dozens hurt in Israeli synagogue accident
Azerbaijan launches project to develop women's entrepreneurship
Bitcoin rises 5.6% to $49,337.72
UK records another 1,926 coronavirus cases, 4 deaths
Tourism Administration to participate in Dubai Tourism Exhibition
Iran to vaccinate 14m citizens against COVID-19 by end of June: Minister
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan discuss the development of trade and economic ties
Value of Turkish cars imported by China surges
Azerbaijan using combat aircraft units in military exercises (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani grabs gold at 2021 US Judo Senior National Championships (PHOTO)
Ankara Commission investigating crimes committed during Karabakh war holds first meeting (PHOTO)
Tank units of Azerbaijani Armed Forces perform tasks within scheduled exercises (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan’s Diamond Motors company names winner of tender for purchase of vehicles
Iran kicks off operation to develop Kong fishing port in Hormozgan Province
Political parties in Armenia urge to oust active PM and president
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 17
MP explains Iran's benefits of selling oil products instead of crude
Slovenian Port of Koper could serve as fastest way and entry point for Georgian goods entering EU
Rising commodity prices create preconditions for potential strengthening of currencies in CIS - expert
Azerbaijan names number of sold cars in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan discloses volume of non-oil products exported to Turkey
Azerbaijani Army's missile, artillery units heading for exercise areas (VIDEO)
Bahar Azadi gold coin price rising in Iran
National Iranian Drilling Company starts drilling operations on Siyah Makan oil field
French investment bank to assist in transformation of state-owned enterprises in Uzbekistan
Khazar consortium opens tender for purchase of office equipment in Turkmenistan
Udi people always feel attention of Azerbaijani president, first lady - head of Albanian-Udi Christian community
Azerbaijan's economy shows positive tendencies in March 2021, says WB
Travel to Saudi Arabia to resume Monday after year of restrictions
Royal Caribbean cancels new cruise line from Israel over unrest
Cargo movements in Iran’s Amirabad port shrink
Ranking of best-selling cars in global market for 1Q2021 announced
Bolivia receives another batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine
Turkmen Communications opens tender for supply of equipment
Iran exporters seek stable foreign currency rate
Azerbaijan discloses date of next plenary parliamentary session
Personnel, military equipment of Azerbaijani Armed Forces sent to exercise area (PHOTO)
First Armenian president reveals reasons for country’s defeat in Karabakh war
Iran’s NIOC, POMC to sign contract on development of Farzad B gas field
Activities in Iran’s Noshahr port intensify
Greece talks latest trade data with Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 16
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Poland
Azerbaijan confirms 472 more COVID-19 cases, 1,122 recoveries
Azerbaijani manat's exchange rate remains stable - WB
Kazakhstan unveils its trade structure with EAEU countries for 1Q2021
Greece exploring ways to further diversify bilateral trade with Turkmenistan
Iran's Ministry of ICT to provide free internet for presidential candidates
Iran lifts steel ingots export ban
Azerbaijan, Germany implementing joint agricultural projects
Iran declares amount of loans issued in Fars Province
Detailed look at Turkmenistan's development of agriculture sector (2020 - May 2021)
Tourism potential of Azerbaijan's liberated Shusha at int'l exhibition in Dubai (PHOTO)
Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran seeks tax exemption for Chabahar port
Azerbaijan discloses insurance fee for rice fields
Abu Dhabi shares at record high, shrugging off Israel-Palestine tension
Israel's import of Turkish chemicals spikes in value
SOCAR Ukraine temporarily suspends premium fuel sales
Britain to hold meeting to encourage global COVID vaccine take-up
Azerbaijani agrarian agency signs tender to attract judicial services
Purchasing of rapeseed from farmers in Iran continues
CPI up 0.3% in April, well below expectations
Uzbekneftegaz shares data on shipment of sulfur products
Russia’s COVID-19 spread rate surpasses 1 for eight days in a row
Disney World and other U.S. theme parks update mask rules
Troops of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan garrison to launch new command-staff exercises
Share of non-performing loans in Georgia doubles
EU allocates financial aid for programs in support of Georgian private sector
Government Trading Corporation of Iran unveils volume of wheat purchased from farmers
Iran's free trade zones require private sector investments - President Rouhani
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Anzali port decreases
Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation leaves for visit to Italy
Bitcoin rises 5.6% to $49,337.72
Most temples belonging to Udi people are either in ruined or dilapidated condition. Therefore, we will restore them too - President Aliyev
Iran's launches supercomputer
Proxy advisor ISS recommends votes for Chevron CEO, directors
WB talks growth of lending to Azerbaijan's economy
Saudi Arabia's national airline to resume flights to Georgia
Uzbek commodity exchange notes decrease in prices for cotton seeds
Udi people have great historical heritage - President Aliyev
Georgian FM to pay official visit to Kyiv
Iran’s East Oil & Gas Production Company boosts gas extraction
Biggest share of Azerbaijan's GDP accounts for industry
Turkmenistan interested in expanding co-op with Russia’s Lipetsk region
Azerbaijani Armed Forces continue exercises, moving to operational areas (VIDEO)
Georgia sees increase in COVID-19 cases
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 16
Russian airline expanding route of flights in direction of Baku
Azerbaijan expected to approve another int'l document on migration issues
Iran government increases pensions
Retail trade indicators up in Kazakhstan
Physical volume of Kazakhstan’s GDP down in 1Q2021
Turkmenistan, Iran talk over increasing sea transportation in Caspian Sea
Ministry talks social benefits paid out to population in Azerbaijan since early 2021
GDP per capita increases in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan discloses amount of trade surplus for 1Q2021
Azerbaijan creating industrial clusters to develop metallurgical industry
All news