Human Rights chief concerned about reported build up in Aleppo, SyriaListen /
With the escalation of fighting in Syria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is expressing deep alarm at threats to civilians.
In a statement on Friday, Ms. Pillay urges the Syrian government and armed opposition to abide by their obligations under international law or face the consequences.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, says they are particularly concerned about a looming confrontation in the second largest city, Aleppo.
“We have been receiving as yet unconfirmed reports of atrocities, including extra-judicial killings and shooting of civilians by snipers, that took place during the recent fighting in Damascus. And, obviously, in urban areas, it goes without saying that the increased use of heavy weapons, tanks, attack helicopters, and, reportedly in some cases, even jet fighters in urban areas, has already caused many civilian casualties and puts many more at grave risk. Taking all this together, with the reported build up of forces in and around Aleppo, we believe this bodes very ill for the people of that city."
The Human Rights Office reports a "discernible pattern has emerged" as Syrian forces clear areas it says are occupied by the opposition.
This involves surrounding the area and cutting off services such as water and food, followed by intense shelling and bombardment. Tanks and ground forces then move in, summarily executing suspected opposition fighters.