UN extends Syria war crimes investigation despite opposition from China, Russia, Cuba

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Demonstrators protest against Iran's President Ahmadinejad and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting, September 26, 2012 in New York.

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DON EMMERT

The United Nations' rights body today extended the mandate for an investigation into war crimes in Syria, reported Reuters, as part of the agency's response to the 18-month political crisis in Syria that has left 30,000 people dead and forced tens of thousands from their homes.

The 47-member Geneva forum extended the mandate for the Brazil-led war crimes probe, which has so far charged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled government with the majority of the crimes, according to the Associated Press

The vote saw 41 in favor and three against — China, Russia, and Cuba opposed the extension, said Reuters. Three abstained. 

China and Russia, as well as Iran, have been criticized for their support of Assad, most recently by the Turkish Prime Minister

More from GlobalPost: Turkey's Erdogan takes Russia, China, Iran to task over Syria conflict

The conflict in Syria started with a rebellion against Assad's rule and has since devolved into a deadly civil war pitting the regime against an armed rebel movement. 

The West has called on Assad to relinquish power, but has been more reticent in its support of the rebel movement, which is backed by a number of opposition forces, Al Qaida believed among them. 

Syria's ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui derided the vote as a "highly-politicized and selective" move, blaming the unrest in his homeland on Islamic "terrorists," according to Reuters.

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