Amnesty documents war crimes in Syria

June 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM
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LONDON, June 14 (UPI) -- Rights group Amnesty International said it uncovered evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by Syrian forces during its tour of the country.

The Syrian government is accused of disproportionate force against its own people, though Damascus maintains its dealing with domestic terrorism.

Amnesty International, in a 56-page report compiled from field investigations in the country, said Syrian forces and pro-government militias were suspected of summarily executing civilians.

"Syrian government armed forces and militias are rampaging through towns and villages, systematically dragging men from their homes and summarily executing them," the report read. "They are burning homes and property and sometimes the bodies of those they have killed in cold blood."

Last month, more than 100 people were allegedly killed at the hands of Syrian forces in the village of Houla. The British government, in response, said it was preparing to refer Damascus to the International Criminal Court for its pattern of systematic attacks on civilians.

Amnesty International said the level of fighting in parts of the country have reached a level of intensity it described as "non-international armed conflict."

"This means that the laws of war (international humanitarian law) also apply, in addition to human rights law, and that many of the abuses documented here would also amount to war crimes," it said in reference to its field investigations.

The conflict in Syria is dragging into its second year. The United Nations estimates at least 10,000 people have died as a result of the fighting between pro- and anti-government forces in the country.

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