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article imagePillay: Further militarization of Syrian conflict must be avoided

By Paul Iddon     Jul 2, 2012 in Politics
The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has stated that "further militarisation" of the bloody and ongoing conflict in Syria must be avoided "at all costs."
Reports from BBC News, ITV and AFP quote Pillay saying that weapons are continually being supplied to both the regime and the opposition and in turn escalating the violent conflict.
In her statement she did not elaborate on where these arms were being supplied from. However it is now known that Russia and Iran are sending arms to the Syrian regime whilst Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funneling arms to the Syrian opposition.
Pillay states that the Syrian regime and the opposition to it have been "involved in actions harming civilians." She has also once again called for the UN Security Council to have the wider conflict referred to the International Criminal Court.
She also warned about the "increasingly sectarian" nature of the 16-month-old conflict.
These statements of hers come as reports indicate at least 30 people have been killed in violence across Syria so far today. Homs -- the central city of the uprising -- is being continually bombarded. Pillay has said that hundreds of people are still trapped in the Old City district of the city "because of the increasing use of heavy weaponry, shelling and ongoing armed clashes."
She also stated that Assad's forces have attacked medical clinics that opposition forces had previously taken over. She also referenced reports which state that opposition elements have been using children as human shields. She has called for the UN observer mission in Syria -- currently suspended due to violence -- to be strengthened so that it can be an effective observer and reporter on the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.
More reports from Syria also state that 85 Syrian soldiers, among them a general and several officers defected to Turkey. This follows the defection of a general, two colonels and two majors to the country last week. The rate of defections seem to be increasing significantly following the defection of a Syrian Air Force pilot who flew his MiG-21 jet fighter to neighbouring Jordan last week and got political asylum.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria remain high following the downing by Syria of a Turkish Air Force F-4 Phantom II, Turkey claims the aircraft was downed over international waters whilst Syria claims it was violating its airspace when it was shot down.
More about Syria, United Nations, Navi Pillay