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Syrian civil war turning sectarian, says UN

Dec 20, 2012 16:08 IST

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Brussels: A UN human rights report on Syria says the country's civil war is increasingly turning into a sectarian conflict pitting majority Sunni rebels against government forces supported by the country's religious and ethnic minorities.

Sergio Pinheiro, who heads an independent commission investigating abuses, said Thursday the panel was "extremely worried by the presence of foreign fighters ... who are not fighting for human rights and democracy" on the rebel side.

Camps of Syrian refugees. Reuters.

He said the bulk of the victims of the nearly two-year war were civilians, and blamed both sides for abuses including torture and illegal executions.

Pinheiro noted that anti-government rebels were hiding in urban areas where they were "failing to distinguish themselves" from the civilian population, triggering strikes by government artillery and the air force.

AP