Syria Violence Worsening, Not Safe for Refugee Return, UN Investigators Say


Syria is still unsafe for the return of refugees a decade after its conflict began, UN war crimes investigators said on Tuesday, documenting worsening violence and rights violations including arbitrary detention by government forces.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the overall situation was increasingly bleak, noting hostilities in several areas of the fractured country, its collapsing economy, drying riverbeds, and increased attacks by Islamic State militants.

The war, which spiraled out of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, sparked the world's biggest refugee crisis. Syria's neighbors host 5.6 million refugees, while European countries are hosting more than one million.

Refugees in some countries have faced pressure to return.

While Assad has recovered most of Syria, significant areas remain outside his control: Turkish forces are deployed in much of the north and northwest—the last major bastion of anti-Assad rebels—and US forces are stationed in the Kurdish-controlled east and northeast.

The report also criticized the unlawful internment of thousands of women and children held on suspicion of Islamic State links in camps in areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, saying they had no legal recourse.

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