Volume. 12227

U.S.-trained rebels return to Syria
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_syria2(2).jpgThe first Syrian rebels trained by U.S. military and intelligence officers in Jordan returned to Syria on Thursday, a senior rebel spokesman told CNN.
About 300 rebel fighters received specialized training in Jordan in the use of various weapons, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other types of advanced systems, the spokesman said.
Foreign-backed rebels' efforts to topple the Syrian government have claimed more than 60,000 lives since the fighting began in March 2011. Another 940,000 have fled the country and more than 10% of Syria's 20 million residents have been forced to move elsewhere inside the country, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said.
On March 11, a UN investigation into the Syrian crisis said that the violence in the country has reached “new heights of destruction.”
“There is an urgent need for a sustained diplomatic initiative to put an end to the violence and the suffering of the Syrian population,” Paulo Pinheiro, the Chair of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 
“If the national, regional, and international actors fail to find a solution to the conflict and stop the agony of millions of civilians, the alternative will be the political, economic, and social destruction of Syria and its society, with devastating implications for the region and the world,” Pinheiro stated.
He also said that the foreign-backed rebels have been executing captured Syrian Army soldiers after trials in their own makeshift courts. 
In addition, Pinheiro said the militants are recruiting child soldiers as young as 13. 
Recent videos also show militants in Syria recruiting children and teenagers. 
The videos show the commander of a US-backed group in the northern province of Aleppo saying that when the children arrive, they are children, but when they leave, they become killing machines. 
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. 
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. 
In an interview recently broadcast on German television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the government did not start the conflict and the militant groups were the ones killing Syrian citizens and destroying the country’s infrastructure. 

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