Crimes against humanity alleged in Syria

Syrians protest in Damascus on 24 April 2011

Government security forces in Syria may have committed crimes against humanity during the violent crackdown of demonstrations by opposition groups, according to a report by the UN Fact finding mission on Syria.

Although the mission was denied access to Syria, it says it received numerous reports of gross violations of human rights including murder, summary executions, indiscriminate targeting of peaceful demonstrators using snipers and helicopters, torture and unlawful arrests and detentions.

The report says up to 1,900 civilians people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. This includes 353 people who were summarily executed.

The report recommends that the U.N. Security Council refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of alleged atrocities.

Rupert Colville is the spokesperson of the UN Human Rights office.

"They managed to talk to witnesses in four countries including Syria although they weren't able physically to get into Syria. They interviewed 180 witnesses in all. These included defectors from the military from the police and other security forces, many of whom had refused to fire on civilians. They also report that many soldiers and other security officials who tried to defect or who refused to shoot civilians were themselves shot and summarily executed on the spot."

Duration 29"

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