UN report urges immediate action as Syria confronts escalating violence News
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UN report urges immediate action as Syria confronts escalating violence

The UN Syria Commission of Inquiry released a report Monday concerning the most severe escalation of violence in the country since 2020.

Explosions during a military academy graduation ceremony in Homs triggered the escalation, which began in October, leading to a series of indiscriminate attacks by Syrian and Russian forces on opposition-held areas. The commission emphasizes that these attacks may constitute war crimes, targeting hospitals, schools, markets, and displaced persons camps.

Tensions between various forces in Syria intensified further with the outbreak of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, involving Israel, Iran and the US. Israel conducted numerous strikes on Iran-affiliated targets in Syria, affecting crucial infrastructure and disrupting UN humanitarian efforts, as per state-run media reports. In response, US forces launched retaliatory air strikes in Syria’s east.

The report highlights a significant humanitarian crisis, with over 90 percent of Syrians living in poverty. The economy is in freefall due to tightening sanctions, and increased lawlessness is leading to predatory practices and extortion by armed forces and militias.

The Turkish military’s accelerated operations against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria, following an attack claimed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), further exacerbated the situation. Turkish aerial attacks on power plants deprived nearly one million people of water and electricity, potentially constituting violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes. In addition to the conflict, the report notes ongoing human rights violations, including disappearances, torture and ill-treatment by the Syrian government.

Paulo Pinheiro, the Chair of the Commission, asserted, “Since October, Syria has seen the largest escalation in fighting in four years. With the region in turmoil, a determined international effort to contain the fighting on Syrian soil is imperative. Syria, too, desperately needs a ceasefire.”

The report is scheduled to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on March 18.