UN: Crimes against humanity in Syria

State television broadcast pro-Assad rallies “supporting national unity and rejecting foreign interference”, after the Arab League imposed sanctions on Sunday.
The European Union weighed in one day later, further tightening the financial screws on Damascus for its “brutality and unwillingness to change course”.

Assad’s foreign minister Walid al-Moualem hit back, lambasting the Arab League for “a declaration of economic war” that he said had closed the door to resolving the crisis.
“Sanctions are a two-way street,” Moualem told a televised news conference. “I am not warning here, but we will defend the interests of our people...”

UN probe
In Geneva, a United Nations commission of inquiry said Syrian military and security forces had committed crimes against humanity including murder, torture and rape, for which Assad and his government bore direct responsibility.

It demanded an end to “gross human rights violations” and the release of those rounded up in mass arrests since March by Syrian forces quashing pro-democracy demonstrations. Over 3,500 people were killed in 8 months.

Syria’s close trading partners Lebanon and Iraq rejected the Arab League measures, whose economic impact could be less severe than intended, analysts said.
“We do not agree with these sanctions and we will not go along with them,” said Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.

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