Serious human rights violations have soared dramatically in Syria in recent weeks, the head of a UN commission tasked with probing the abuses said Monday (September 17th).
"Gross violations of human rights have grown in number, in pace and in scale," Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a top UN investigator told diplomats gathered in Geneva Monday.
He said violations were occurring with such frequency that it was becoming impossible to investigate them all.
"Civilians, many of them children, are bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence," he said.
Speaking during the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council, Pinheiro presented an updated version of his commission's report from last month, which said Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, and the opposition to a lesser extent, had committed war crimes during the 18-month crisis.
"We have recommended that our report be forwarded to the Security Council for its deliberations so it might take appropriate action in view of the gravity of the violations, abuses and crimes perpetrated by government forces and the Shabbiha, and by anti-government groups," he said.
Pinheiro said that "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" were being committed in Syria.
"In a dramatic escalation, indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the form of air strikes and artillery shelling levelled against residential neighbourhoods are occurring daily," he said, adding that the indiscriminate use of weapons, combined with a failure to protect civilians, reflected "a disturbing disregard for established rules of armed conflict."
The probe did not spare opposition fighters, whom it said had committed war crimes, including murder, extrajudicial execution and torture.
After Pinheiro's presentation, Faisal Khabbaz Hamouia, a representative of the Syrian government, slammed the report as inaccurate.
"Syria calls on all who support the bloodshed of (its) people […] to stop doing so," he said, charging that the international community was stoking the flames of the conflict, while 17 countries were sending "jihadist terrorists" to fight for the "fragmentation of the Middle East into Islamic emirates."