HRW documents Syrian rebel abuses

Sept. 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Syrian opposition forces are called on to show their commitment to international human rights obligations, a rights organization said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council in Geneva last week that government forces were likely committing war crimes against the Syrian people. Opposition forces are also suspected of increasing their level of brutality as the conflict escalates.

Human Rights Watch said it uncovered evidence of torture and summary executions against detainees held in opposition custody during a visit to Aleppo province in Syria.

Opposition leaders told the organization they were committed to human rights. Nadim Houry, deputy director of the Middle East program at Human Rights Watch, said action on the ground was what's important.

"Time and again Syria's opposition has told us that it is fighting against the government because of its abhorrent human rights violations," Houry said in a statement from New York. "Now is the time for the opposition to show that they really mean what they say."

In August, Human Rights Watch said it was investigating a residential neighborhood in Aleppo said to be flattened when Syrian fighter jets bombed the area. At least 40 people were killed during the attack, described by Human Rights Watch as a "horrific" assault on civilians.

Pillay said last week that gross violations of international law take place on a daily basis in Syria. Both sides are likely responsible, she added.

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