Volume. 12234

UN report documents war crimes committed by ISIL in Syria
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The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, UN investigators said on Wednesday.
ISIL forces in northern Syria are waging a campaign to instill fear, including amputations, public executions and whippings, they said, according to AFP. 
"Violence has bled over the borders of the Syrian Arab Republic, with extremism fueling the conflict's heightened brutality," said the report, issued in Geneva.
ISIL fighters, who are also sweeping through neighboring Iraq in their bid to establish a cross-border caliphate, have drawn more experienced and ideologically motivated foreign fighters and established control over large areas in northern and eastern Syria, particularly oil-rich Deir Ezzor, it said.
"Executions in public spaces have become a common spectacle on Fridays in al Raqqa and ISIL-controlled areas of Aleppo governorate (province)," the report said.
"Children have been present at the executions, which take the form of beheading or shooting in the head at close range... Bodies are placed on public display, often on crucifixes, for up to three days, serving as a warning to local residents."
The investigators also voiced concern at the fate of boys forced to join ISIL training camps in Syria and said that any decision by the United States to bomb the militant group "must respect the laws of war."
"We are aware of the presence of children in training camps, we think this decision by the United States must respect the laws of war and we concerned about presence of children," Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN panel, told a news briefing.
ISIL has committed torture, murder, acts tantamount to enforced disappearance and forced displacement as part of attacks on the civilian population in Aleppo and al-Raqqa provinces, amounting to crimes against humanity, it said.
"ISIL poses a clear and present danger to civilians, and particularly minorities, under its control in Syria and in the region," Pinheiro said.
The UN investigators added that there were “reasonable” suspicions that government forces have dropped barrel bombs on civilian areas, including some believed to contain the chemical agent chlorine in eight incidents in April, and have committed other war crimes that should be prosecuted, they said in a 45-page report issued in Geneva.
The UN report, the commission of inquiry's eighth since being set up three years ago, is based on 480 interviews and documentary evidence gathered by its team, which is trying to build a case for future criminal prosecution.
The investigators, who include former UN crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte, have drawn up four confidential lists of suspects whom they believe should face international justice.
In the report, they reiterated their call for the UN Security Council to refer violations in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Accountability must be part of any future settlement, if it is to result in an enduring peace. Too many lives have been lost and shattered," Pinheiro said.
Rebels take Golan Heights crossing
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels, including al-Qaeda's affiliate Nusra Front, seized control of the Syrian crossing with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Wednesday, an activist group said.
"Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area," said Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
He said at least 20 soldiers and four rebels were killed in the fighting for the crossing that began earlier Wednesday.
The heavy fire strayed across the border into the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan, where the army said an Israeli officer was moderately wounded.
ISIL threatens to attack Saudi Arabia
Takfiri ISIL rebels have reportedly threatened to attack Saudi Arabia during Eid-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) that marks the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, a report says.
According to Syria Alaan news website, ISIL militants will begin an armed operation in Saudi Arabia after being supplied with arms and money by al-Qaeda agents.
The report said possible fall of the Saudi government would be a severe blow to Western states, especially the United States. Therefore, five Arab states have been required o cooperate with Saudi Arabia by providing necessary information on the ISIL.
The report added that Qatar will provide necessary information on the movements of the ISIL while Egypt and Jordan will do everything to prevent transfer of hefty sums of money through banks in the United Arab Emirates to the ISIL terrorists who have been earning a lot of money by selling stolen oil in Iraq and Syria.

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