Syria’s security forces have been accused of committing crimes against humanity by a United Nations report.
An independent commission set up by the UN Human Rights Council details cases of murder, torture and rape – including the killing of more than 250 children.
The commission, which interviewed more than 200 witnesses, victims and army deserters, said responsibility went right to the top of the Syrian regime as it submitted its report to the UN in Geneva.
“The widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Syria could not have happened without the consent of the highest ranking state officials. Under international law the state of Syria is responsible for these violations,” said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Brazilian human rights expert who chaired the commission.
Syrian state television showed pictures of a huge rally in Damascus in support of the president. The government has hit back at the Arab League over its decision on Sunday to impose sanctions, accusing it of declaring an “economic war” and closing the door to resolving the crisis.