Syria’s conflict could threaten international peace, UN warns

Mass atrocities by Government forces and non-state armed groups continue to take place in Syria, causing immeasurable suffering to civilians, according to a UN report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released on Wednesday.

The report stated that the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, were among the factors which had contributed to a spillover of violence affecting international peace and stability. “Risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable,” it emphasized.

The report, based on 480 interviews and a wealth of documentary material, chronicles the unimaginable brutality and human cost of the Syrian conflict. Fighting has engulfed civilian areas, destroying the barest possibility of normal life.

The impact has been particularly grave for women and children, whose most basic rights are being infringed daily. “Hundreds of civilians are dying each day as the fighting goes on with no regard to law or to conscience,” said Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission.

In areas of Syria under ISIL control, particularly in the north and northeast of the country, Fridays are regularly marked by executions, amputations and lashings in public squares. Civilians, including children, are urged to watch.

Bodies of those killed are placed on display for several days, terrorizing the local population. Women have been lashed for not abiding by ISIL’s dress code.

In Ar-Raqqah, children as young as 10 are being recruited and trained at ISIL’s camps. The group has forcibly displaced Kurdish communities in northern Syria. Journalists and other media workers are systematically targeted. The Commission reports that “members of ISIL have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Aleppo and Ar-Raqqah governorates including acts of torture, murder, enforced disappearances and forcible displacement.” “ISIL poses a clear and present danger to civilians, and particularly minorities, under its control in Syria and in the region,” Pinheiro warned.

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