ISIL profiting from international inaction to end the Syrian civil war

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Paulo Pinheiro, Chairman of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The inaction of the international community to bring the Syrian conflict to an end continues to embolden the warring parties to operate with impunity and nourished the violence that has consumed the country, according to the International Commission looking into human rights abuses in the country.

The Commission says the latest beneficiary of this inaction is the militant group ISIL, also known as ISIS.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council the Commission says the rise of ISIL is a wake-up call for the Syrian government and mainstream opposition groups to find a common ground and commit to making compromises needed to reach a comprehensive political settlement.

The report details atrocities committed by the Syrian government including indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas, torture, sexual abuse and sieges on towns opposed to the regime.

It says ISIL has committed massacres, executed women and exposed children to extreme levels of violence including public executions.

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro is the chairman of the commission of inquiry.

"ISIS and the anti-government armed groups are not however the sole agents of death and destruction inside Syria. The Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killings and maiming scores of civilians daily. Checkpoints are often the starting point of a horrific journey of disappearance, torture, sexual abuse and for many death. The Syrian conflict will not be resolved on the battlefield. The only avenue to putting an end to the conflict and violence is dialogue and negotiation between the Syrian government and the mainstream opposition with the support of influential states and the United nations."

The Commission says states preparing to take military action against ISIL positions must abide by the rules of war and make every effort to preserve civilian life.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

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