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UN Human Rights Council approves international probe into Syria’s crackdown

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has launched a new commission of inquiry into Syria's crackdown on anti-government protesters, including possible crimes against humanity.

See reports by Al-Jazeera and BBC.

By 33 votes in favour to four against and nine abstentions, the HRC passed a resolution to "urgently dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry... to investigate violations of international human rights law in Syria since July 2011".

China and Russia said they opposed the measure as unnecessary intervention.

The resolution condemned the government’s violations “such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human rights defenders”.

The announcement came as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continued its months long and bloody crackdown on anti-government protestors.

Addressing the HRC on Monday, the UN Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, said at least 2,200 people had been killed.

She told the HRC, "the gravity of ongoing violations and brutal attacks against the peaceful protesters in [Syria] demand your continued attention", adding that security forces were employing excessive force, including heavy artillery.

Whilst the Syrian regime has defied international demands that the crackdown ends, it also said Monday it would receive the UN’s international investigators.