Government and opposition forces in Syria committing gross human rights violations

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Protests in Syria

Human rights violations by government forces and armed opposition groups are on the rise in Syria as fighting spreads across the country, the UN Human Rights Council heard on Wednesday.

In a report to the Council, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the Syrian army and its allied militia were responsible for killing civilians, illegal detention and various forms of torture, while opposition forces have been torturing or executing government soldiers and those suspected of supporting them.

The Commission said it could not rule out that forces loyal to the Government may have been responsible for the Al-Houla massacre in which over 100 people were killed.

However, the Commission also said it was likely that anti-Government fighters or a foreign group of unknown affiliation could have carried out the massacre. Paulo Pinheiro is the chair of the Commission.

"As a result of the reported flow of new weapons and ammunition both to the Government forces and to the anti-Government armed groups, the situation risks becoming more aggravated in the coming months. The international community must not fail to exert a concerted effort to put an end to the violence. Our view remains that the further militarization of the crisis will be catastrophic for the people of Syria and the region. The cessation of hostilities is of paramount importance for the promotion and protection of human rights. It is the civilian population, from various communities, who are suffering in this conflict, many paying with their own lives."

Duration: 48"

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