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Syria Commission Of Inquiry Releases Update

Residents look at fresh graves of people killed by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet at a bakery in Halfaya, near Hama, Syria, December 24, 2012.

The Committee notes that almost 44,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011.

The independent international Commission of Inquiry on Syria, mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record human rights violations in Syria, has released the latest in a series of updates on conditions in the country.

Syria Commission Of Inquiry Releases Update
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The Commission’s report, which covers the period from the end of September to the middle of December, highlights many of the disturbing and reprehensible regime practices that have been observed over the course of the conflict in Syria, including the regime’s disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, lack of consideration of civilian life, and commission of atrocities. The report also stressed the Committee of Inquiry’s concern over deepening sectarian undertones of the conflict, the emergence of minority self-defense committees, and the proliferation of violent extremists fighting in Syria.

The Committee notes that almost 44,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011, with civilians bearing the greatest brunt of the violence.

The United States, which supported the creation of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, welcomes its latest report and commends the Commission’s ongoing investigation into the unfolding events in the country.

The responsibility for the current violence in Syria, the United States believes, rests squarely on the regime of Bashar al-Assad, who responded to last year’s peaceful protests with violence and unmitigated brutality. The longer the Assad regime continues to deny the Syrian people their rights and dignity, and stands in the way of a peaceful, democratic transition, the greater the concern that instability will escalate.

On December 11, the United States formally recognized the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Such political recognition, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, will help “to accelerate change in Syria, change which is coming, and to prepare for it.”

“The only way forward,” said Mr. Burns, “is for [Bashar al-] Assad to step aside and give way to an effective transitional governing body and ultimately to an inclusive, democratic, post-Assad Syria.”