Independent investigators on war crimes in Syria Paulo Pinheiro, Karen Abuzayd, Vitit Muntarbhorn and Carla del Ponte (L to R) address U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
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Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the United Nations' commission of inquiry, urged national authorities to contact the independent investigators who have compiled five confidential lists over nearly four years.More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011 with protests against the rule of President Bashar Assad and has driven 3.9 million Syrians to flee their shattered homeland.Syria's ambassador Hussam Edin Aala responded angrily at the 47-member forum to the investigators' move.The three Sunni Muslim nations Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have backed armed groups battling to oust Assad, whose main international allies are Russia and Shiite Iran.
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