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Syria: rights group charges regime with war crimes, 15 troops reported dead

Researchers documented a brutal offensive as diplomats negotiated with Assad.

Syria violence april 2012Enlarge
Juret al-Shayah neighbourhood is seen through a shattered window at a hotel in the flashpoint city of Homs on May 2, 2012. Both sides in the Syrian conflict are violating a ceasefire, a top UN official said, as a rights group accused the regime of committing atrocities in the province of Idlib. This picture was taken on an official government-guided tour. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Human Rights Watch today released a damning report accusing the Syrian authorities of war crimes as ongoing violence is reported in defiance of a supposed cease-fire, said Reuters

International efforts have failed to quell the violence raging in Syria, which the UN says has left more than 9,000 people dead. A peace plan brokered between UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last month appears to have unraveled, with the agency on Tuesday charging both government and opposition forces with violating the agreement.  

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Human Rights Watch's Anna Neistat said today's report revealed huge military operations recently conducted by the Syrian regime, saying that as "diplomats argued over details of Annan’s peace plan, Syrian tanks and helicopters attacked one town in Idlib after another."

"Everywhere we went, we saw burnt and destroyed houses, shops, and cars, and heard from people whose relatives were killed," Neistat said in a statement today. "It was as if the Syrian government forces used every minute before the cease-fire to cause harm.”

The New York-based rights group said the Idlib offensive took place between March 22 and April 6 — in other words, as the UN was negotiating with Assad. Human Rights Watch said the operations left at least 95 civilians dead.

The UN, which has deployed 30 monitors to the country, on Tuesday said it had received reports that at least 34 children were killed since the three-week cease-fire was put in place on April 12, according to Reuters

Also today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based rights group monitoring the 14-month-old revolt against the Syrian regime, said 15 members of government security forces were killed in clashes with rebels in Aleppo, a northern province, reported Reuters

The number has not been independently confirmed, according to the Associated Press

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120502/syria-rights-group-charges-regime-war-crimes-15-troop