Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.N. Says Civilians Bear the Brunt of Syria Fighting

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.N. Says Civilians Bear the Brunt of Syria Fighting

Article excerpt

A U.N. commission report stated that officials had collected a "formidable" body of evidence against those responsible for indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

With the Syrian conflict reported to be spilling into the Lebanese border area, U.N. investigators said on Monday that civilians were bearing the brunt of indiscriminate air and ground assaults in the fighting over the future of President Bashar al- Assad.

The report was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva by Paulo S. Pinheiro, the investigator leading a U.N. inquiry commission.

Mr. Pinheiro told the council that there had been a sharp escalation in indiscriminate attacks by government forces against civilians and that the commission had collected "a formidable and extraordinary body of evidence" against those responsible.

The report, completed last month, says government and anti- government forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr. Pinheiro warned those responsible that the commission had collected names of individuals and units that could support action by national or international courts.

He recommended that this evidence, deposited with the United Nations' human rights office, be sent to the Security Council, which has the authority to refer the abuses to the International Criminal Court.

Underscoring the reach of the conflict and its regional perils, The Associated Press quoted unidentified security officials as saying that four missiles fired by two Syrian warplanes landed on Lebanese territory on Monday, in a remote area on the edge of the Lebanese border town of Ersal.

"I saw lots of smoke," said a resident of Ersal, a carpenter who identified himself as Zaher. He said fighting started late Sunday, when opposition fighters seeking Mr. Assad's overthrow attacked Syrian soldiers just across the border. The opposition fighters fled into Lebanese territory, and then helicopters started firing missiles. No casualties were reported in the attack, which happened around noon.

A Lebanese Army colonel, speaking on condition of anonymity, said missiles had landed in a border area where the frontier was not clearly marked, but not inside Lebanon. …

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