London, Oct. 17 (ANI): A UN commission on human rights abuses in Syria has warned of the increasing risk of foreign Islamist militants radicalizing the conflict.
Lead investigator Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said the presence of hundreds of 'radical Islamists or jihadists' was particularly dangerous.
Presenting the UN commission's first report for a month, Pinheiro pointed to 'a dramatic rise in sectarian tensions' and singled out the role of foreign militants.
He said that while they were not a powerful army invading Syria 'they are not combating for democracy and freedoms but they are combating for their own agendas'.
According to the BBC, Syria has for some time blamed much of the violence on foreign-backed 'terrorist groups', and UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said last month that Damascus estimated that the number of foreign fighters in the country was into the thousands.
Brahimi has been visiting a series of Middle Eastern capitals, putting forward a proposal for a ceasefire to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts at the end of the month, the report said.
Syria's foreign ministry has shown some interest in the plan, but has said it requires the commitment of all sides if it is to succeed, it added.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI is to send a delegation to Damascus in the next few days, to show solidarity with the Syrian people. (ANI)