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    Government Airstrikes Threaten Minority Groups in Syria, UN Advisers Say

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    A group of UN special advisers in a Friday statement has condemned the increased number of government airstrikes in Syria, a country that has been struggling against the advances of Islamic State radicals, warning that they could lead to heavy casualties among religious minority groups.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The UN advisers warned that such tactics could provoke non-state armed groups, including ISIL militants, to carry out reprisal attacks against religious and ethnic minorities perceived to be associated with the Syrian government.

    "They [UN advisers] warned that such attacks could escalate retaliatory action by non-state armed groups, and consequently, increase the vulnerability of religious and ethnic minorities perceived to support the government."

    Airstrikes conducted by the Syrian government have reportedly killed more than a hundred civilians in the past week, the United Nations said, adding that the government has also been using indiscriminate weapons, such as barrel bombs, in civilian populated areas.

    "Employing means or methods of combat which cannot distinguish civilian from military objectives is a clear violation of international humanitarian law."

    The advisers expressed particular concern over Shia civilians and Kurds, who are being targeted by ISIL fighters and militants from the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), over their religious beliefs.

    A US-led coalition has been helping the Syrian government counter Islamic State advances since September, 2014, by launching airstrikes against the militants’ positions. Kurdish forces have been fighting against the radical Sunni group on the ground.

    Sunni and Shia are two branches of Islam, with Sunnis being the majority in most Muslim communities.

    Topic:
    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)

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    Tags:
    Daesh, Kurds, Shia militias, civilian deaths, Al-Nusra Front, UN, Syria
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