» 08/16/2012, 00.00
UN condemns army and rebels for war crimes against the Syrian people
Army and paramilitary militias are responsible for the Houla massacre where over 100 civilians were killed. Less serious charges against the rebels. The document, however, presents serious shortcomings because investigations were hampered. Muslim countries expel Syria from Organisation for Islamic (OIC). Catholics consecrate the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
(AsiaNews / Agencies) - The UN has convicted the Syrian army and rebels of war
to the report signed by 47 members of the Council for Human Rights, the
military and the "shabbiha" guerrillas are responsible for the Houla massacre
(Hama) which killed 100 people and other atrocities against civilians,
including the bombing of a hospital in
Aleppo. Its condemnation of the rebels however, was water down. They are charged with committing crimes, but to
a "lesser extent" and "less frequently" than the soldiers
of the regime. The
document covers the period from 15 February to 20 July and is based on 1062 field interviews with Syrian
people and refugees who have fled abroad. The
data is however scarce and unreliable, in part because of the difficulty in gathering
information on the field, hampered by the army and rebels.
commission of investigation was led by Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio
Pinheiro, and Karen Koning Abu Zayd, a U.S. citizen and former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
(UNRWA), the United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees. New
evidence of the army's responsibility for the Houla massacre last May 25 has
emerged from the report. The
two diplomats emphasize that the data reinforces the position of the
international community which for months has been demanding tougher action
against the Syrian regime for crimes against humanity. "Both
sides are guilty of war crimes - said AbuZayd - but most of the killing is the
work of the Assad government." The
diplomat notes that in recent months the regime has developed a genuine policy
of war against his own people. The
operations are increasingly large-scale and involve soldiers and police.
escalation of violence is compounded by the progressive isolation of the regime
of Bashar al-Assad by Western and Arab countries and by the refusal of the
rebels to come to terms with the government. The
UN report on war crimes has led the Arab states to expel Syria from Organisation
for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The
decision was announced today at the end of the summit with a statement of the
57 OIC members in Mecca (Saudi Arabia). The
expulsion was criticized by Iran, Assad's main ally, who accused those present
of violating the Charter of the Organisation. In
fact, no Syrian delegate was present during the vote. Ali
Akbar Salehi, Iran's foreign minister, said that "cooperation would be
more logical a suspension, the OIC must help the government and opposition to
conduct negotiations to end the crisis."
the efforts for a cease-fire achieved in recent months by Kofi Annan, former UN
and Arab League special envoy, and the pope's repeated appeals for peace, the
conflict between the army and rebels continues unabated. Yesterday,
a violent blast struck a military barracks near the hotel housing the UN
observers in Damascus. State
media said the attack was the work of Free Syrian Army, which wants to undermine
the regime during the visit of Valerie Amos, head of the UN Commission for
Human Rights. After
several weeks of relative calm, gun battles were reported in several districts
of the capital, including that of Mezzeh, home to the Prime Minister's
of the regime's offensive in Aleppo continues.
The army has retaken northern districts of the city until now controlled
by rebels. 18
civilians were killed in the operation.
on the Feast of the Assumption, Msgr. Samir
Nassar, Maronite archbishop of Damascus, Syria consecrated the nation to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary. The
consecration took place in the cathedral on behalf of all Catholic Syrian bishops
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