International

U.N. Accuses Syria of 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Professor Paulo Pinheiro gestures during a press conference in Geneva today. i i

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Professor Paulo Pinheiro gestures during a press conference in Geneva today. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Professor Paulo Pinheiro gestures during a press conference in Geneva today.

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Professor Paulo Pinheiro gestures during a press conference in Geneva today.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

A U.N. commission accused security forces loyal to Syria President Bashar Assad of killing hundreds of children and committing other "crimes against humanity" since the government began its crackdown on protesters back in March.

According to the Associated Press, a panel of independent experts said "at least 256 children were killed by government forces as of early November, with some boys sexually tortured and a 2-year-old girl shot to death just to prevent her from growing up to be a demonstrator."

The report adds to the mounting pressure on the Syrian government after the Arab League foreign ministers agreed to a raft of sanctions against Damascus in a meeting in Cairo on Sunday. Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said today that the Arab League's latest sanctions, including the decision to halt dealings with the Syrian Central Bank, was a "declaration of economic war."

On the ground, at least 19 people were killed by security forces across Syria today, activists said, including one child. The Local Coordination Committees, which organize protests around the country, said 12 out of the 19 were killed in the central city of Homs.

Since the beginning of the uprising 8 months ago, foreign journalists have had very limited access to Syria and most of them were banned from entering the country. Most of the information coming out of the country has come from activists and locals on the ground. We have been watching social media sites throughout the day, and collected some videos that reflect events on the ground. Please be aware that some of the content that follows is graphic.

(Ahmed Al Omran is a production assistant with NPR's social media desk.)

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