Middle East

Report accuses Syrian government of sectarian war strategy against Sunni majority

A new report by a Syria conflict monitoring group accuses the government of depopulating Sunni-majority areas in Syria's third largest city as it fights to consolidate its power.

The report released Tuesday by the Washington-based Syria Institute raises ethical questions about what role, if any, the UN and other international institutions should play in rebuilding Syria while President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

The report says the government's six-year-long crackdown on revolt has disproportionately affected Sunni-majority neighborhoods in the city of Homs while sparing its Alawite residents. Assad is an Alawite.

It says supporting government-managed reconstruction efforts in Homs amounts to rewarding the government for what it says is a "sectarian" strategy of depopulation, and incentivizes further "war crimes."

It says international institutions should hold Assad to account instead.

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