New foreign fighters fuel violence in Syria

The U.N. Human Rights Office said on Wednesday that the increasing numbers of foreign fighters in Syria is fueling sectarian violence and may end up destabilizing the region.

The Syrian civil war has lasted more than two years and escalated in the past year. The war has negatively affected civilians and soldiers in Syria: over 70,000 people have died in the conflict, millions are without homes and refugees flood neighboring countries.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. human rights chief, said the conflict in Syria is also being prolonged because outside forces provide weapons and ammunition to the two sides. She called for the international community to find a way to end the conflict in a political, not military, way.

"We must put our differences aside, and States with influence should use it to apply strong pressure to halt all further use of heavy weapons and aerial bombardment of civilian areas," Pillay said.

The U.N. Human Rights Council is expected to adopt a resolution condemning violence committed by both government and rebel forces. The resolution would also single out intervention from foreign combatants, expressing concern that their involvement poses a threat to the region's stability.

"This Council should send a clear message to all parties to the conflict, and the external actors wittingly and unwittingly fuelling it: the conflict must cease, with an immediate cease-fire as a confidence-building measure leading up to the Geneva conference; the flow of arms must stop; and the process of national dialogue must begin now," Pillay said.