UN human rights office 'alarmed' by situation in north-eastern Syria

October 8, 2014 6:48 am 

GENEVA, Oct. 8 — The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday expressed its grave concerns over the safety of civilians in north-eastern Syria amid the recent attacks of Islamic State (IS) militants.

OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists that the UN human rights office was very "alarmed" by the situation in Kobane.

The predominantly Kurdish city – also known as Ayn al-Arab – has been subject to ferocious attacks by IS militants over the past two weeks. It was reported that the militant group seized three Kobane neighborhoods on Monday.

IS fighters have already succeeded in occupying hundreds of Kurdish villages around Kobane, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

Colville said that as a result of the recent advance of IS militants, most of the approximately 10,000 civilians who had stayed in the border area close to Kobane are believed to have crossed into Turkey on Sunday and Monday.

"We remain hugely concerned for the safety of any civilians remaining in Kobane or in the border area as well as in surrounding villages," Colville stressed, noting that his organization believed the numbers of those who remain in the area "are now at most in the hundreds, maybe fewer."

The human rights official expressed serious worries over anyone who falls into the hands of IS militants given the latter's "atrocious record of repeated murders and summary executions of prisoners in both Syria and Iraq," he said.

Syrian Kurds have reached a deadlock in their fight against IS militants, who have repeatedly tried to storm Kurdish-dominated Syrian areas. The majority of Syrian Kurds – who make up some 15 percent of Syria's 23-million population – have retreated to the northern part of the embattled country.

Hundreds of Kurdish fighters have reportedly entered Syria through Turkey and Iraq to defend their fellow Kurds against a massive IS offensive on predominantly Kurdish areas in northern Syria. (PNA/Xinhua)



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