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Syria dismisses UN report of army violations

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-24 11:02

DAMASCUS - The Syrian government on Saturday slammed as "unilateral and politicized" a recent UN report accusing government troops of violations, as the rebels stepped up attacks against military sites in southern Syria.

In a statement carried by Syria's state media, the foreign ministry said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been dragged once again behind "a widespread misleading campaign led by countries supporting terrorism in Syria to provide a political coverage for the crimes committed by armed terrorist groups."

The UNHRC has taken "unilateral and politicized stands seeking to hold the Syrian government responsible for current events based on fallacies," the statement said, adding that the council has ignored the crimes of "armed terrorist groups," about which the Syrian government has provided dozens of evidence to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

On Friday, the UNHRC decided to extend the mandate of independent international commission of inquiry on Syria to investigate human rights violations, adopting a resolution that " strongly condemns the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and the government-affiliated militia, as well as any human rights abuses by armed opposition groups."

In its remarks on Saturday, the foreign ministry said the resolution aims to prolong violence in Syria and bring in foreign military intervention, as well as to "disrupt efforts to find a political settlement for the crisis via national dialogue."

On ground, rebels from al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Yarmouk Martyears Batalion have taken over the Jelin and al-Elan military checkpoints in the country's southern province of Daraa after days of clashes, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Islamist rebels have also stormed the Syrian army's 38th air defence brigade in the countryside of Daraa, said the Observatory, posting a video showing the dead body of the brigade's head, Colonel Mahmoud Darweesh.

Also in Daraa, clashes erupted in the town of Sheik Miskeen, which has been subject to government troops' bombardment, the Observatory said, reporting clashes elsewhere in Daraa and other hotspots nationwide.

Meanwhile, the state-run SANA news agency said that the Syrian army on Saturday repelled an attack by an armed group against the army's al-Nairab camp in the outskirts of the northern city of Idlib and inflicted heavy losses on its members.

It added that the army demolished the assailants' weapons and killed many of them in Ariha, Sarja, Majdelya, Maaret al-Numan, Wadi al-Dhayf, al-Hamidiya and Heish in Idlib.

According to SANA, the army also repulsed an attack by armed rebels at one of the military sites in Khrbet al-Zubaidah village in the southern province of al-Quneitra and killed and wounded many of them.

The country's deadly two-year-old crisis has killed more than 70,000 people nationwide and displaced more than a million to neighboring countries.

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