9.16.14: Syrians flee IS de facto capital
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say thousands of residents in the Syrian northeastern city of Raqqa have fled to nearby villages in anticipation of possible U.S. airstrikes against militants in the group Islamic State.
Raqqa is the group’s de facto capital.
The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq, and last week President Barack Obama authorized strikes against the group in Syria as well.
— The U.N. commission investigating war crimes in Syria says President Bashar Assad’s government is committing the bulk of atrocities inside the war-torn country, exceeding the toll from the horrific massacres perpetrated by Islamic State fighters.
The head of the U.N. commission describes the Islamic State extremist group and anti-government armed groups capturing the world’s attention as “agents of death and destruction,” but emphasizes the government’s sieges and attacks in Syria’s civil war which has killed over 190,000 people and destabilized the region.
He tells the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva that “the Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily” through shelling, air attacks, checkpoints and interrogation.