- Damaskus Checkpoint; Source: Wikimedia Commons
President Bashar al-Assad continues to deploy air strikes and artillery to capture restive towns, hitting civilian homes and hospitals. United Nations investigators stated that there was enough evidence that Assad’s forces and the Shabiha militia commited war crimes and crimes against humanity – including “unlawful killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, indiscriminate attack, pillaging and destruction of property”. The investigators also said that rebel forces were responsible for war crimes.
The estimated number of casualties since the beginning of the uprising in March last year is around 20,000. However, it is difficult to verify the numbers due to intense fighting and a lack of information. More than 200,000 Syrians have fled the country to Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
The new United Nations and Arab League mediator and successor of Kofi Annan has said recently that it will be nearly impossible to end the conflict in Syria.