The United Nations has accused the Syrian government of torturing and killing prisoners on a massive scale that amounts to “extermination,” a crime against humanity. Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said investigators also found systematic killing, rape and torture by armed anti-government groups as well as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.
Paulo Pinheiro: “Detainees are subjected to violations on a mass scale in governmental detention centers. Prisoners are routinely tortured and beaten. Forced to live in unsanitary and overcrowded cells, with little food and no medical care, many perish in detention. … Anti-government armed groups have also committed violations against detainees. They have held government soldiers and members of rival armed groups in makeshift detention centers, where they are ill-treated and executed, or die after being tortured.”
The report comes as tens of thousands of Syrians have massed near the Turkish border, fleeing Russian airstrikes and advancing Syrian government forces north of Aleppo. Turkey has kept the border closed, reportedly in a bid to pressure the United States to help create a buffer zone for civilians inside Syria.