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Refer Syria to ICC, says Amnesty

Refer Syria to ICC, says Amnesty
A Syrian man sits against a wall in downtown Homs, Syria, March 21, 2012. Homs was the site of heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops in February. UPI | License Photo

LONDON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Amnesty International called on the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court to face charges of possible war crimes.

Amnesty International, in a 37-page report, documented the escalation of the crisis in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria.

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Syrian President Bashar Assad called on the country's military to restore order as fighting moved into a 12th day in the city. Rebel forces had seized control over parts of Aleppo last week though the situation there remains fluid.

The rights group reported that demonstrations in the city were modest up until July.

"Security forces and militias have systematically used unwarranted lethal force to break up demonstrations, invariably killing and injuring peaceful protesters who posed no threat to them or to others," the report read.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, in a statement, said there was a "dramatic humanitarian situation" unfolding in Aleppo given the mass exodus under way.

The rights group said, with most of the area deserted, it was calling on the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the ICC, freeze Assad's assets and place an arms embargo on the country.

"Crimes under international law and other human rights violations continue to be committed, evidently with the blessing of government authorities at the highest level," said Amnesty International.

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