Syria faces downward spiral into bloody civil war

Syria faces downward spiral into bloody civil war

This was stated by the chairman of the commission of inquiry on syria appointed by the UN human rights council, paulo pinheiro, in geneva on wednesday. "At present, neither side seems to believe in a political solution any more," warned the UN and arab league's deputy syria envoy, jean-marie guehenno. The people desperately hope "that the international community will come together and exert influence before it is too late.".

Against this background, a syria action group will meet for the first time in geneva on saturday. It includes representatives of the five veto powers in the UN security council as well as arab states and turkey. The group wants to work for a nonviolent resolution of the conflict and democratic change in syria. "The action group should agree on guidelines and principles for a syrian-led political transition process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the syrian people," said UN and arab league syria envoy kofi annan.

From the point of view of U.S. Secretary of state hillary clinton, annan's plan increases the pressure on the regime of president baschar al-assad. If countries like russia or china support annan's roadmap for political transition, it sends a whole different message, clinton said in helsinki. Members of the regime, for example, were discouraged and the opposition encouraged.

Germany will most likely not be present. In berlin, german minister guido westerwelle (FDP) said he supported "every initiative and every format that can bring us closer to an end to the violence.

Fighting in syria spreads to more parts of country, says situation report presented by pinheiro to human rights council. They had the character of a "non-international armed conflict" – the term used in humanitarian international law to describe a civil war. Opposition groups-among them those loosely affiliated with the free syrian army (FSA)-have become increasingly effective in their crackdowns.

Troops of the assad regime were "bombarding entire residential areas of suspected government opponents with attack helicopters and artillery even in the presence of observers," the report states. Sexual violence and torture – including mock executions and torture with electric shocks to genitals – are also among the methods used by the assad regime. In protest against the report, the syrian UN representative faisal al-hamwi left the room.

"I am shocked," federal government human rights commissioner markus loning said in berlin. "The most brutal human rights violations, such as murder, torture, sexual violence and expulsions, are the order of the day. Numerous children, including young children, are among the victims."

In a speech late tuesday evening, assad had declared that his country was "in a real war". But every effort has been made to "win this war," assad said at the swearing-in of a new cabinet that continues to be filled with loyal party stalwarts. "Apparently we only have problems with the west, the majority of the world wants to have relations with us," he added.

Insurgents attacked a pro-regime private television station near damascus in syria on wednesday, killing at least seven TV employees. Other employees were injured or abducted by the attackers, syrian information minister omran al-subi said on state television. A spokesman for the syrian opposition in damascus told the arabic television station al-jazeera that the attackers were defectors from the ranks of the republican garden. The information could not be verified by independent sources at first.


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