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UN: Syrian government and opposition use torture

August 20, 2013

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A senior U.N. official is accusing the Syrian government and opposition fighters of committing acts of torture, abduction and kidnapping, “at times along sectarian lines.”

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco says both sides fail to protect civilians.

He says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remains adamant that “there is no military solution” to the Syrian conflict.

“Recent military victories by government forces should not give the government false confidence that it can win militarily,” Fernandez-Taranco told the Security Council on Tuesday. “Likewise, promises of arms should not push the opposition toward different priorities or expectations, other than a political solution.”

Fernandez-Taranco says “technical preparations” for a new Geneva peace conference are almost complete.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky says another U.S.-Russia meeting to prepare for Geneva will be held shortly.

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