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UN Blasts All Sides in Northwestern Syria for Possible War Crimes

A Geneva-based United Nations commission of inquiry on Syria slammed Syrian government troops, Russian forces and rebel groups fighting it out in the northwestern part of the country for “likely [having] committed war crimes.” In a report issued on Tuesday, investigators for the commission said “indiscriminate bombardment” by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as at least one “deadly” air attack by Russian pilots sent to the country to help Assad, had been scrutinized. Also coming under scrutiny were Islamist rebels blamed for lobbing artillery shells into civilian areas “with no apparent legitimate military objective.” The report covers activities from November of last year until last month. Assad launched a blistering offensive in December in an effort to uproot some of the last rebels still fighting in a civil war that is now in its tenth year. The offensive petered out in March following a cease-fire signed between Russia and Turkey, which supports several rebel groups. The two are now conducting joint patrols of the area. The investigators are calling on world powers to now establish a corridor for aid to reach an estimated 1.5 million people who have been internally displaced as a result of the latest fighting.