UNITED NATIONS - Citing ongoing incidents of murder, rape, torture, widespread attacks on civilians and hostage-taking committed by Syrian forces and anti-Government armed groups, a UN appointed human rights probe reported Wednesday that “the perpetrators of these violations and crimes, on all sides, act in defiance of international law. They do not fear accountability.”
“Referral to justice is imperative. There is no military solution to this conflict. Those who supply arms create but an illusion of victory,” the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in its latest report, delivered to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, stressing that a political solution founded upon tenets of the Geneva communique is the “only path to peace”.
The panel, which describes Syria today as “a battlefield [where] massacres are perpetrated with impunity [and] and untold number of Syrians have disappeared,” reports that Government and pro-Government forces in Syria have continued to conduct widespread attacks on the civilian population with impunity, committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance as crimes against humanity, today reported stressing that there is no military solution to the conflict.
“Failure to bring about a political settlement has allowed the conflict not only to deepen in its intransigence but also to widen – expanding to new actors and to new, previously unimaginable crimes.” Established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the Commission is mandated to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law during the Syria conflict.
The findings produced in today’s report are based on 258 interviews and other evidence collected during the two-month period between 15 May and 15 July 2013.As for allegations were received regarding the use of chemical weapons, predominantly by Government forces, the Commission reports that on the evidence currently available, “it was not possible to reach a finding about the chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrators. Investigations are ongoing.”
The Commission goes on to report that Government forces “committed gross violations of human rights and the war crimes of torture, hostage-taking, murder, execution without due process, rape, attacking protected objects and pillage.”In reference to the offensive on Al-Qusayr town where the Commission verified that 450 people were killed, “Government forces conducted themselves in flagrant disregard of the distinction between civilians and persons directly participating in hostilities.”
Agencies add: President Bashar al-Assad marks his 48th birthday on Wednesday with the threat of US-led strikes against his regime in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack apparently receding. A Syrian pro-regime site called on residents of the capital Damascus to demonstrate their support for Assad by joining a convoy of cars in the Mazzeh district to honour him.
Assad, a British-trained ophthalmologist who has three children, succeeded his father Hafez, who died in 2000.
Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday he hoped that a US promise to pursue diplomacy to remove the threat of chemical weapons in Syria was "serious", the state news agency IRNA reported. "I am hopeful that the United States new attitude to Syria is serious and not a game with the media. For weeks they have threatened war against the people of this region for the benefit of the Zionists (Israel)," he said during a public address.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday said "a strong response" was needed to the use of chemical weapons and urged Damascus "without delay" to show readiness to destroy them.
China also welcomed Syria's promise to renounce chemical weapons and give up its nerve gas arsenal, as fears of a US-led strike against Assad's regime receded.
"We welcome the recent statements by the Syrian government," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing in Beijing. "We hope all relevant sides can grasp this opportunity to solve the Syria problem through diplomatic and political means," he added.