U.N. has its eye on Syria, rights commissioner warns

Feb. 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Rupert Colville, a spokesman for U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay, said Friday he was alarmed by the military escalation in rebel-held parts of Syria.

Colville said there may be as many as 50,000 civilians trapped in the town of Yabroud, a rebel-held area near Lebanon's eastern border. He said there have been "numerous" aerial attacks on the town, electricity was cut off and medical supplies were running low.

"We are deeply concerned that the attack on Yabroud may follow the pattern of previous attacks on cities and towns across Syria where government aerial bombardments were indiscriminate and disproportionate," he said in a statement from Geneva.

Such acts are a violation of international law and Syria is reminded that Pillay already this week suggested the situation in Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court, he said.

"We are closely watching the situation unfold in Yabroud and urge all sides to respect their obligations under international law," he said in a statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the Syrian crisis during visits in Washington this week with French President Francois Hollande. Obama said he was frustrated with the ongoing conflict.

"Syria itself is crumbling," he said in a statement.

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