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UN commission describes worsening situation in Syria

[JURIST] The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] on Wednesday announced [press release] key findings from the latest report [text, PDF] on the status of the warring parities in Syria, which has resulted in widespread crimes against humanity and potential violations of international law. According to the report, the Syrian government likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians eight times in April. This announcement marks the first time the UN has assigned blame [AP report] for the use of the chemical agent by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [JURIST news archive]. Moreover, the movement of the Islamic State (IS) [BBC profile] into the north and northeastern parts of Syria has brought systematic killings [WSJ report] and crimes against humanity, including torture, murder, enforced disappearances and forcible displacement. The report notes children as young as 10 are being recruited and trained at IS camps.

The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has persisted for three years. Since the start of the conflict, the Syrian government has been accused of committing human rights violations against its own population. Earlier this week, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] reported [JURIST report] that at least 191,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict —almost double the number from last year's report. In June the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned [JURIST report] the UN Human Rights Council that the continuing civil war in Syria conflict has "reached a tipping point, threatening the entire region." In May Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] cited evidence [JURIST report] that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons inside its own territory on its own people.

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