United Nations observers have entered the war-torn town of Haffa, describing the area as largely deserted and reeking of death.
Monitors from the organization had fled from the town in western Syria on Tuesday, after being surrounded and fired upon.
They managed to enter successfully on Thursday, and found many buildings demolished as a result of bombardment.
“A strong stench of dead bodies was in the air and there appeared to be pockets in the town where fighting is still ongoing,” said Sausan Ghosheh, the spokesperson for U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (USMIS).
“The number of casualties is still unclear.”
A statement from the UNSMIS said that the headquarters of the ruling Baath Party was had suffered shelling, and many cars had been set on fire.
The U.N. estimates that 10,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have so far been killed since an uprising began against the Syrian regime 16 months ago.
On Thursday, Amnesty International released a report detailing abuses and calling for international intervention.
“This disturbing new evidence of an organized pattern of grave abuses highlights the pressing need for decisive international action to stem the tide of increasingly widespread attacks against the civilian population,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser, who recently spent several weeks investigating human rights violations in northern Syria.
“For more than a year the U.N. Security Council has dithered, while a human rights crisis unfolded in Syria. It must now break the impasse and take concrete action to end to these violations and to hold to account those responsible.”
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