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Syrian opposition meets on interim Cabinet

  |   March 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM
DAMASCUS, Syria, March 18 (UPI) -- Twelve prime minister candidates were nominated at a meeting of Syrian opposition leaders discussing formation of an interim government Monday, officials said.

The dozen candidates were nominated by the General Assembly of the Syrian National Coalition meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Syrian National Council spokesman Khaled Salih said 10 of the candidates were exiled technocrats and two lived in government-controlled areas of the country. The candidates are from different groups and parties of the opposition.

Monday's meeting signaled the opposition coalition's most serious effort to date to form an interim government since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad started two years ago, Xinhua said.

The United Nations estimated about 70,000 people have died in the uprising.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights Monday issued a report on the expanded and systematic usage of Scud missiles by forces loyal to the Assad government, calling their use "crimes against humanity."

The network said that while other rights committees have stated "all parties have committed crimes against humanity" and that some groups of armed rebels violated human rights, but they have assured the Syrian Network for Human Rights that "they didn't target civilians on the basis of denomination, religious, ethnicity, cultural or party."

"Crimes have systematically and widely been committed without any discrimination by the one who has bombed bakery, shelters in schools, churches, mosques, and hospitals by barrels demagoguery and warplane missiles, this is an evidence on the use of Scud missiles," the report said.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said it documented the launching of 61 Scud missiles by forces loyal to Assad throughout Syria, particularly in the north. It said 59 of those cases targeted groups of civilians.

"This means that they targeted civilians deliberately, and thus they committed crimes against humanity," the Syrian Network for Human Rights said.

The report was critical of the international community's silence on the matter, noting it was unable to overcome Russian and Chinese vetoes when the U.N. Security Council tries to respond to the Syrian government's actions.

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