United Nations: Amid escalating violence in large Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo, the UN Human Rights Chief has warned the government and opposition forces to face consequences if the civilian population is not protected.
"The Government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.
"While government forces have on some occasions, in accordance with international humanitarian law, given
civilians a clear opportunity to leave areas it is attacking, on other occasions it has not. Effective warning is required by international humanitarian law."
Pillay urged the Syrian government and the armed opposition to protect civilians and abide by their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, or face the consequences.
The UN human rights chief expressed particular concern about the likelihood of an imminent major confrontation in Syria's second largest city Aleppo.
"I have been receiving as yet unconfirmed reports of atrocities, including extra-judicial killings and shooting of civilians by snipers, that took place during the recent fighting in various suburbs of Damascus," she said.
"It goes without saying that the increasing use of heavy weapons, tanks, attack helicopters and reportedly even jet fighters in urban areas has already caused many civilian casualties and is putting many more at grave risk. The situation in and around Aleppo does not bode well for its
people," Pillay said.
"Such attacks are also continuing in other major towns such as Homs and Deir-ez-Zur. Already the consequences for civilians have been devastating, with many thousands killed and injured and between 1 and 1.5 million now reported to have fled their homes," she added.
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Updated Date: Jul 27, 2012 22:38:14 IST