Both sides responsible for Syria violence: UN

Both sides responsible for Syria violence: UN

Both sides responsible for Syria violence: UN

Members of Syria’s newly-elected Parliament hold their first official sesssion in Damascus. MPs were expected to elect a speaker, following their own election. AFP photo

Syrian government forces and anti-government armed groups are both carrying out unlawful killings, torturing opponents and abusing children in the 15-month-old uprising, a U.N.-appointed panel of human rights experts said yesterday, though it underlined that security forces are still responsible for the largest share of the violence.

The statement came as President Bashar al-Assad said his government is capable of finding a way out of the crisis gripping his country. “Syria has been able to overcome the pressures and threats it has faced for years and is able to get out of this crisis thanks to the strength of its people and commitment to unity and independence,” al-Assad said. Assad’s remarks came during a meeting with Iran’s communications and information technology minister, Reza Taqipour. According to state news agency SANA, Taqipour delivered the Syrian president an invitation from his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement to be held in Tehran in September.

The findings by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria show a chilling pattern of abuses on both sides of a conflict that it says has become “increasingly militarized” despite U.N.

cease-fire efforts. The report is based on hundreds of interviews since March with victims and witnesses who fled the country. The commission is includes Yakın Ertürk, a former U.N. investigator on violence against women.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.