UN investigators seek political solution for Syria

Geneva, Sep 11 (IANS) The UN commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria has called for a cessation of hostilities by warring parties and a return to negotiations.

In more than two years of conflict, the Syrian government and pro-government forces have continued to conduct widespread attacks on the civilian population, committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance, Xinhua reported citing the latest report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Both sides have laid siege to neighbourhoods and subjected them to indiscriminate shelling, said the report, which would be presented to the UN Human Rights Council's ongoing session Sep 16.

It said that the government forces have committed gross violations of human rights and war crimes.

Meanwhile, anti-government armed groups have also committed war crimes, including murder, execution without due process, torture, hostage-taking and attacking protected objects.

They have besieged and indiscriminately shelled civilian neighbourhoods, added the report.

The report, which covered the period from May 15 to July 15 this year, also found that anti-government and Kurdish armed groups have recruited and used child soldiers in fighting.

The report also contained a section examining the conduct of warring parties in and around the rebel-held town of al-Qusayr in May and June 2013.

"To elect military action in Syria will not only intensify the suffering inside the country but will also serve to keep such a settlement beyond our collective reach," stated the commission.

It said that the nature of the war raging in Syria is such that the number of violations by all sides goes hand in hand with the intensity of the conflict itself.

The commission of inquiry was established in September 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged human rights violations since March 2011 in Syria.

The council decided to extend the commission's mandate for the first time in September 2012. It extended its the mandate for another one year in March.

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