UN accuses Syrian officials of ‘crimes against humanity’

A report by the United Nations on the violence in Syria concluded that “gross human rights violations” have been ordered by the “highest levels of the armed forces and government” as state policy, amounting to crimes against humanity, according to The New York Times.

The report included a list of Syrian government officials and army officers who could be investigated for crimes against humanity, including murder, abductions and torture, according to Reuters.

The independent panel concluded that Syrian forces have shot unarmed women and children, shelled residential neighborhoods and tortured wounded protesters under the orders of officials from the highest levels of government and military, said Reuters.

More on GlobalPost: Syrian tanks reportedly enter Homs after 20 day heavy artillery assault

Al Jazeera noted that the panel also said it had found gross abuses committed by fighters in the opposition movement, many of them soldiers who mutinied from the Syrian army.

The panel of three investigators was not allowed into Syria, but based its reports on 369 interviews of victims, witnesses and defectors and corroborating evidence from photographs, video recordings and satellite imagery, said The Times.

The US, Europe and Arab countries plan to demand that President Bashar al-Assad provide humanitarian access to the worst hit areas in Syria, as bombardment continues on the city of Homs, said the BBC. The decision will likely be made on Thursday and presented at Friday’s international conference on Syria, being held in Tunisia.

The opposition group Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported 40 deaths on Thursday, including an 8-year-old killed in Aleppo, according to CNN.

More on GlobalPost: US mulls arming Syria rebels, as GOP candidates give blessing

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