Civilians face "systematic slaughter" in Syria

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Jan Eliasson

Civilians and non-combatants in Syria, including women and children, face what has been described by a senior United Nations official as "systematic slaughter."

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson spoke at a meeting of the Security Council attended by foreign ministers and senior United Nations officials on Thursday afternoon.

He said that more than 2.5 million people, including refugees from Palestine and Iraq, are now in grave need of assistance and protection inside Syria.

Mr. Eliasson warned that there is no immediate prospect of an end to the fighting and resolution of the conflict in Syria because both the government and the opposition have chosen the path of armed confrontation.

"Civilians and non-combatants, including women and children, face systematic slaughter. There are almost daily reports of atrocities, most recently in Darayya. These recent accounts of possible war crimes are deeply troubling – and should give us all further impetus to work to end this nightmare. Those responsible in Government and the military forces, as well as armed opposition groups, must be held accountable for gross human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity."

 (Duration: 27")

Mr. Eliasson said that member states with influence on the Syrian government or the opposition have an obligation to end the killing and promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

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