UN: Syria Regime Is 'Exterminating' Civilians
Thousands flee government onslaught
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 1:44 AM CST
Syrian troops stand with a destroyed tank in the back on a street in Salma, Syria.   (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
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(Newser) – The Syrian regime has been engaged in war crimes on a scale that dwarfs even the actions of ISIS, according to a United Nations report that warns of a human rights crisis as the country's civil war approaches its sixth year. The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights says the Assad regime has committed "crimes against humanity of extermination; murder; rape or other forms of sexual violence; torture; imprisonment; enforced disappearance and other inhuman acts," the Independent reports. "Extermination" refers to the "massive and systematized violence" against detainees, who are believed to number in the tens of thousands. The regime was responsible for more than 12,000 civilian deaths in 2015, compared to 1,366 for ISIS, just over 1,000 for the other opposition, 849 for Russia, and 277 for the US-led coalition, according to the UN.

The regime—backed by Russian airstrikes—has made major gains in Aleppo province in recent days, and tens of thousands of refugees are stuck at the border with Turkey, which has only allowed a few seriously injured people in, reports the New York Times. In a Turkish hospital, the Times spoke to a family injured when a Russian airstrike destroyed their home. "Obama has been saying every day that Bashar al-Assad is finished," says farmer Mahmoud al-Dik. "But we are the ones who are being finished." "There is no hope," adds his 13-year-old daughter. Two younger children were unconscious with fractured skulls. (Syria's foreign minister says foreign troops that intervene will go home in coffins.)