UN confirms 'foreign elements,' jihadis, in Syria
GENEVA (AP) - An increasing number of "foreign elements" including jihadis are now operating in Syria, an independent United Nations (UN) panel confirmed on Monday in its first report to say that outside "terrorists" have joined a war spiralling out of control.
The investigative panel appointed by the Human Rights Council says some of these forces are joining armed anti-government groups while others are operating on their own.
"Such elements tend to push anti-government fighters towards more radical positions." the head of the panel, Brazilian diplomat and professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, told diplomats. He referred to the foreigners as "terrorists", though the word did not appear in the written report.
Activists say at least 23,000 people have been killed in Syria in the past 18 months.