The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the increasingly bloody nature of the conflict has put pressure on the international community to intervene. Earlier this month the US House Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] passed [JURIST report] two resolutions calling for an international tribunal in the Middle East to address the alleged war crimes committed by the government of Syria and its allies, specifically Russia and Iran. Last month the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic reported] that the Syrian conflict has had a devastating effect [JURIST report] on its civilians as it enters its sixth year. Also in February the UN rights office condemned [JURIST report] airstrikes in Syria that hit hospitals and schools in the region, saying they may constitute war crimes. That same week the human rights office reported that the Syrian government is systematically exterminating detainees.