Paulo Sergio Pinheiro the lead investigator on the UN's commission on human rights abuses in Syria has expressed concern over what he sees is an increase in foreign Islamists militants radicalizing the destructive conflict.
AFP and BBC quote Mr. Pinheiro stating that, "The presence of foreign militants, radical Islamists, or jihadists, worries us very much." Pinheiro states that they believe there are hundreds of foreign fighters operating in Syria and, "Their presence can contribute to radicalization." He added that such a "presence is particularly dangerous in a very volatile conflict."
He was also quoted as stating that these foreign fighters are not "combating for democracy and freedoms," but are in fact "combating for their own agendas."
Damascus estimates there are thousands of such fighters in the country and blames the unrest primarily on them.
Pinheiro blames both sides -- the regime and the various armed opposition elements -- for the destruction this conflict is afflicting on the Syrian state, he aptly stated that the "civilian population is paying the price."