A United Nations investigation said both Syrian government forces and rebel militias trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad committed serious human rights abuses, as fighting in the country continues despite an attempted ceasefire.
The investigation, which relied on interviews of victims and witnesses because the investigators were not allowed into Syria, said government forces had killed entire families, while opposition fighters had tortured and murdered prisoners and kidnapped others for ransom.
“Entire families were executed in their homes” and children were frequent casualties of attacks on protests and towns by state forces, the report found. On the other side, the insurgents had executed and tortured captured soldiers as well as people for voicing support for the government. They also have abducted civilians for ransom.
The ceasefire brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan has largely failed, although overall violence has decreased. The conflict, however, is being prolonged by foreign meddling: Iran and Russia continue to support the Assad regime while the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Gulf Arab states are funneling aid and arms to the rebel militias. All sides have blood on their hands and all appear to be emboldened by their foreign backers.