Ahmed, center, mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib, north Syria, Thursday, March 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) Image Credit: AP

United Nations: The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria urged the Security Council on Wednesday to press the Syrian government to provide information to families about the fate of those missing or detained during the seven-year war.

Following a closed-door informal meeting with council members, the commission chairman said it was crucial to push the government to give a full account after it began in May to release death notifications.

“The issues of the detainees and the disappeared should not be dealt after peace, but now is the time to consider this,” said Paulo Pinheiro, who heads the commission set up to investigate human rights violations in the war.

The families have a right to know what happened, where the bodies are, to get information about them.

- Hanny Megally, UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria

In May, the military police and army provided for the first time information to government civil registry offices on the deceased, allowing families to finally learn the fate of their loved ones.

“The state is beginning to put out that information, but little else,” said commission member Hanny Megally.

“The families have a right to know what happened, where the bodies are, to get information about them.”

An international independent body must be given access to all places of detention to confirm who is still alive in detention, he added.

Syria dead
In this file photo released Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian security force members check human remains at the site of two mass graves believed to contain the bodies of civilians and troops killed by the Islamic State militants, in the village of Wawi north of Raqqa, Syria. Image Credit: AP

The commission hopes council members including Russia, Syria’s ally, can encourage the Damascus government to take steps to address demands from the families of lost or missing loved ones.

Syria’s war has killed more than a half a million people and displaced millions.

UN-led diplomatic efforts to end the war have stalled, but Russia, Iran and Turkey are spearheading a separate drive to stabilise the country.