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As UN Warns of 'Human Costs,' US Sends More Weapons to Syria Border
Despite a warning in a new UN report on Syria saying "there is a human cost to the increased availability of weapons" inside the war torn country, the US is sending more military hardware into the region by stationing Patriot missile batteries and F-16 fighter jets in neighboring Jordan.
Though the Pentagon says the weapons are being sent for military exercises, indications were also made that the weapons could remain for an extended period.
As Al-Jazeera reports:
The decision to possibly station F-16s and missile batteries in Jordan will fuel speculation of a potential US military intervention, which the White House so far has described as a remote possibility.
Patriot missiles are designed to shoot down Scud or other short-range missiles, known to be in the Assad regime's arsenal.
Tensions rose between the US, Russia, and other nations early last week when Russia said it would send advanced missiles systems to the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad, which only built on larger concerns that the internal Syrian struggle would spiral into a larger regional conflict as those backing different factions inside the country jockeyed for position and traded threats over weapon shipments.
The UN report released on Tuesday sought to address earlier 'murky' reports about use of chemical weapons inside Syria. Though the investigation found evidence that some 'limited' forms of poisonous agents may have been used, the extent and details of their deployment remained largely unclear.
As the Guardian reports:
UN investigators say there are reasonable grounds to believe that limited quantities of toxic chemicals have been used in at least four attacks in Syria's civil war, but said more evidence is needed to determine the precise substances or who used them.
The UN commission of inquiry said it needed to test samples taken directly from victims or the site of the alleged attacks. It called on Damascus to allow a team of experts into the country.
The commission's report to the UN human rights council on violations in Syria's conflict accused both sides of committing war crimes. In an apparent message to European countries considering arming Syrian rebels, the report warned that the transfer of arms would heighten the risk of violations, leading to more civilian deaths and injuries.
"War crimes and crimes against humanity have become a daily reality in Syria where the harrowing accounts of victims have seared themselves on our conscience," the report said. "There is a human cost to the increased availability of weapons," it added.