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Syria: Torture marks found on victims of escalating conflict

last updated Sep 03, 2012

In an escalation of violence more than 5,000 people were killed in August, some of them bearing torture marks, according to Syrian activists. In mid-August, ten people were allegedly tortured by electricity, stabbed with knives and burned by cigarette butts before being dumped in the Qaboun district in Damascus. Activists hold the Shabiha, the pro-Assad militia, responsible for the torture and death of the ten people including two children.

Damaskus Checkpoint
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.

Guardian: Syrian shelling and torture claims mar Eid

Reuters: Growing violence could leave Syria ungovernable

Washington Post: New UN envoy to Syria says his mission to end the country’s civil war is ‘very difficult’

Guardian: Syrian conflict 'nearly impossible to resolve'

NY Times: Torrent of Syrian Refugees Strains Aid Effort and Region

Syria country profile