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Syria Live Coverage: UN Human Rights Chief Calls for War Crimes Investigation

Claimed footage of a regime tank firing in the Damascus suburb of Darayya

See also Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Hostage Situation Continues at Gas Plant
Friday's Syria Live Coverage: Another Mass Killing, Another Dispute of Responsibility

2146 GMT: Regime Calls on Insurgents to Stop Fighting. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem has called on insurgents to lay down their weapons and take part in a national dialogue, saying everyone who participates will be included in a new Cabinet with wide executive powers.

"I tell the young men who carried arms to change and reform, take part in the dialogue for a new Syria and you will be a partner in building it. Why carry arms," al-Moallem said in an hour-long interview. "Those who want foreign intervention will not be among us."

The Foreign Minister accused Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey of arming and financing insurgents. He asserted that the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra, which the US has declared a terrorist organisation, has brought fighters from 27 countries.

Meanwhile, Turkey's State news agency Anadolu said the Assad air force killed and wounded dozens on people when it targeted a mosque and a school building that was sheltering displaced Syrians in the town of Salqin, about four miles (six kilometres) from the border with Turkey in Idlib Province.

1936 GMT: Devastation of Darayya. Bill Neely of Britain's ITV reports from the Damascus suburb of Darayya, bombarded by regime forces for weeks:

Two years ago it was home to around 200,000 people. It was a bustling place. The population now is estimated to be around 10,000, at most. Many of those, say activists, are rebels.

They are there fighting a deadly battle for this strategic suburb. Darayya is being pounded to dust. It is itself a victim of a war that is swallowing its people.

A week ago the Syrian government said its forces had captured most of Daraya from rebels who've been holding most of the suburb for the last year or so. "It will be safe within a few days,” one official said.

One week on, it's clear they are not capturing it and it is not safe.

I spent hours today circling Daraya in a car. I'd like to have got in but the four main access roads are blocked by army checkpoints and the whole area is crawling with troops.

I watched a sustained barrage of shelling by the army, the munitions landing in one small area, plumes of white and black smoke rising and mushrooming up into the clear blue sky. On several occasions there were multiple explosions, loud and clear.

1558 GMT: A New Regime Force?. A "top Syrian official" has told Russia Today that the regime will establish the National Defense Forces, made up of about 10,000 civilians who have previously served in the military.

The official said members will protect citizens from attacks by armed rebels and will be given monthly salaries and "have their own distinct uniform".

1548 GMT: Survival. CNN profiles a teenage girl, Baraa, who survived for 11 hours in the rubble of a building in the Damascus suburb of Darayya, hit by a regime warplane on Saturday.

The town has been shelled from the air and attacked by regime forces on the ground for weeks.

1518 GMT: A Pilot Defects and Counter-Attacks. The Damascus Revolutionary Council claims that a defected Syrian pilot has carried out airstrikes on positions of regime forces in Moadimiyeh, near Damascus.

If true, it is the first time in the conflict that a pilot has turned his fire against the Syrian military.

1516 GMT: War Crimes. Syria’s Foreign Ministry has condemned a letter by 58 countries calling for a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court.

"The Syrian government regrets the persistence of these countries in following the wrong approach and refusing to recognize the duty of the Syrian state to protect its people from terrorism imposed from abroad," the ministry said.

It accused some signatories to the petition of funding, training, and harboring "terrorist", and insisted that the initiative was proof of the "deceit and double standards" of the countries in dealing with the Syrian conflict.

On Friday, the head of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, asked the UN Security Council to authorise an ICC enquiry.

1511 GMT: Shelling. Claimed footage of a regime warplane shelling the Jobar section of Damascus today:

1130 GMT: Humanitarian Situation. Syria Deeply speaks to a pharmacist in Qamishli in the north:

There is a general shortage of medication here. Periodically, the factories simply stop producing. They re-start only to stop again. For example, production at the Mediotics factory has been frozen for almost seven months. There are currently about five large factories that have stopped producing. Of course there are sometimes alternatives from other factories, but if people are used to medicine from a certain factory, they may not be persuaded by the alternative because they cannot trust it. So, they search all the pharmacies in the town for a specific brand that is unavailable. For some other kinds of medicine, such as insulin, we do not even have access to alternative brands.

Some essentials, such as baby food, are completely absent. The price of milk has increased a lot. For example, before the revolution NAN milk [a well-known brand] was at 175 lira. Now, it costs 380 lira. Some workers earn as little as 200 lira a day. So imagine how they are supposed to provide milk for their children. Fuel is also a great problem. Petrol is not sold in the stations. It is being stolen.

1120 GMT: Foreign Fighters. The Christian Science Monitor highlights a video, circulating on YouTube, which suppposedly celebrates Iraqi Shia and members of Lebanon's Hezbollah fighting for the Syrian regime.

One observer, Foreign Policy editor David Kenner, supports the assertion of Iraqi involvement but is sceptical of the claim over Hezbollah fighters.

0714 GMT: Deaths and Protests. The opposition Local Coordination Committees say 181 people were killed on Friday, including 17 children and 13 women. There were 75 deaths in Damascus and its suburbs, amid reports of sustain regime shelling, with 18 slain in Darayya, 15 in Madiaa, and 13 in Douma. Most of the 48 people killed in Aleppo Province reportedly died in the shelling of the building in the Mouhafazeh neighbourhood of Aleppo. Of Idlib Province's 19 deaths, 13 were in the bombradment of Salqin.

The LCC also claimed 254 protests on Friday, including 75 in Idlib Province, 59 in Aleppo Province, 55 in Hama Province, and 43 in Damascus and its suburbs.

0703 GMT: Mass Killings and War Crimes. This has been a week marked by mass killings shrouded in uncertainty over extent and responsibility, such as explosions at Aleppo University, car bombs in Daraa and Idlib Province, and the executions of civilians at Haswiyeh village near Homs.

See Syria Feature: Who Carried Out the Mass Killing in Haswiyeh?

On Friday, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Security Council to take action. Citing the escalating death toll --- put at more than 60,000 by the UN --- in a closed-door meeting of the Council, she said, "I firmly believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed, are being committed, and should be investigated" by the International Criminal Court.

At the same time, however, Pillay said she had little hope that the Council would act, given division among its members. 

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