Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - bears responsibility for crimes
Photo: EPA

UN report: Syria committed crimes against humanity

With EU, Arab League turning their back on Assad's regime, UN commission of inquiry says security forces committed crimes against humanity including murder, torture and rape

A United Nations commission of inquiry on Syria said on Monday that Syrian military and security forces have committed crimes against humanity including murder, torture and rape and that the government of President Bashar al-Assad bore responsibility for the crimes.


The panel, which interviewed 223 victims and witnesses including defectors, called on Syria to halt the "gross human rights violations", release prisoners rounded up in mass arrests and allow media, aid workers and rights monitors access to the country.


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Earlier Monday, the European Union governments agreed to impose additional financial sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over a crackdown on pro-democracy protests, an EU diplomat said.


"מיליונים הפגינו בסוריה למען אסד". דמשק (צילום: AP) 

Pro-Assad rally in Damascus (Photo: AP)


The new measures include a ban on long-term financial support for trade, excluding food and medicine, and on loans to the government, both bilateral and through international financial institutions.


"All these measures are aimed at cutting off the financial flows to the Syrian government," said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.


The decision will also extend the list of people, institutions and companies targeted by EU asset freezes and travel bans by 12 persons and at least 11 entities.


Meanwhile, Syria's foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said the Arab League's decision to halt dealings with the Syrian Central Bank was a "declaration of economic war".


Moualem also told a televised news conference that Syria had already withdrawn 95 percent of funds targeted by the League's decision that Arab states freeze Syrian government bank assets.


האיחוד עוצר את הזרמת הכספים למשטר הסורי. אסד (צילום: AP)

Assad: Crimes against humanity (Photo: AP)


"Sanctions are a two-way street. I am not warning here, but we will defend the interests of our people... We have to defend the interests of our people," Moualem said.


In an attempt to bolster that contention, Mualem showed reporters videos of charred and bloodied corpses.


"I'm sorry for these gruesome pictures, but they are a gift to the members of the Arab League who still deny the presence of these armed gangs," he said.


Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 11.28.11, 17:30
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