UN panel: Crimes against humanity spread in Syria

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Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 27 at 11:01 PM

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel is finding evidence of crimes by both the Syrian government and by the Islamic State group that is fighting against government troops there.

The independent commission says the government has likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians. And it says the Islamic State group has committed crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians in two provinces.

It's the first time the U.N. has assigned blame for use of the chemical agent.

According to the report, victims and medical workers described symptoms caused by exposure to chemicals, and witnesses told of a chlorine-like smell, immediately after government helicopters bombed civilian areas on eight occasions in April.

The commission also noted the widespread and systematic killings of civilians by Islamic State, which now controls much of northern and eastern Syria.

The findings mean U.N. officials now believe Islamic State has committed crimes against humanity in Syria and Iraq, the two countries in which the group has carved out a self-styled caliphate.

%@AP Links

192-a-16-(Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (pihn-EHR'-oh), chairman, U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria, at news conference)-"women and children"-Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, head of the U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses and possible war crimes in Syria, says Islamic militants are looking to rebuild borders and remake the region. (27 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *192 (08/27/14)££ 00:16 "women and children"

190-a-10-(Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (pihn-EHR'-oh), chairman, U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria, at news conference)-"conflict in Syria"-Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, head of the U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses and possible war crimes in Syria, says the Syrian civil war has been all but forgotten with the rise of the Islamic State militants in that country and in Iraq. (27 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *190 (08/27/14)££ 00:10 "conflict in Syria"

APPHOTO CAITH105: EDITORS NOTE IMAGES SHOWS GRAPHIC CONTENT - This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows masked gunmen of the Islamic State group shooting seven men kneeling on the ground in front of them, in the aftermath of the group's takeover of the Tabqa air base in Raqqa province, Syria. A U.N. commission on Wednesday accused the extremist Islamic State organization of committing crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians, as pictures emerged of the extremists' bloody takeover of a Syrian military air base that added to the international organization's claims. (AP Photo/ Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group) (27 Aug 2014)

<<APPHOTO CAITH105 (08/27/14)££

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