DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The Syrian government is systematically intimidating the families of activists to pressure them into giving up, a London human rights group said Monday.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights accused the government of President Bashar Assad, which has been battling an insurgency since opposition protests broke out in March 2011 as part of the so-called Arab Spring, of engaging in a wide range of tactics for months, including threatening an activist that his wife would be raped, and taking the relatives of others into custody or having them abducted.
The network said in a release it "strongly condemns the flagrant violations and restrictions on individual liberties with such barbarian methods pursued by the Syrian government."
The group called on other human-rights organizations to "put pressure on the Syrian government to expose its practices on this particular level, which has repressed freedom of expression and freedom of protesting against the Syrian government in fear of persecution of family members and relatives."
The group chastised the United Nations and its Security Council for having "strikingly failed to undertake their responsibility in protecting the basic liberties and rights of the Syrian people as stipulated by the U.N. charter and international law."
"This sense of abandonment has left deep scars in the collective consciousness of the Syrian people and could potentially produce reactions which only the international community holds responsibility for as the Syrian people have been driven to a state of desperation and frustration with the international law which offered them no support whatsoever so far," the group said in its statement.