‘Terrorists’ operating in Syria, UN confirms
GENEVA / DAMASCUS
Pinheiro (L) refers the foreigners as ‘terrorists,’ though it did not appear in the report. EPA photoAn increasing number of “foreign elements” including jihadist are operating in Syria, an independent U.N. panel confirmed yesterday in its first report to say that outside “terrorists” have joined a war spiraling out of control.
The investigative panel appointed by the Human Rights Council said some of these forces are joining armed anti-government groups while others are operating on their own. “Such elements tend to push anti-government fighters towards more radical positions,” the head of the panel, Brazilian diplomat and Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, told diplomats. He referred to the foreigners as “terrorists,” though the word did not appear in the written report, according to the Associated Press.
Syria accuses Turkey
Pinheiro said they had drawn up a new secret list of Syrians and military units suspected of committing war crimes who ought to be prosecuted, Reuters reported. He did not say if any Syrian rebels were among the names on the list, which updated a confidential one his team submitted to U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay in February. Meanwhile, Syria accused Turkey of allowing thousands of Muslim extremists to cross into its territory.
In letters sent to the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Sept. 16, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Turkey allowed “thousands of al-Qaeda, Takfiri and Wahhabi terrorists” access to the country in order to “kill innocent Syrians, blow up their properties and spread chaos and destruction.” Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly rejected Syria’s accusations and called on Syria to stop crackdown on its own people.