UN Raises Death Toll in Syrian Violence

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations has raised the death toll in Syria's crackdown on dissent.

The U.N. human rights office said Thursday that more than 2,900 people have died in the unrest, now in its seventh month. The U.N. put the death figures last month at 2,700.

Meanwhile, the Syrian activists say fighting between government soldiers and military defectors took place Thursday in the Jabal al-Zawiya area of Idlib province. The clashes near the Turkish border killed four soldiers and at least three others.

President Bashar al-Assad's government has used military force to crush opposition protests, including operations against military defectors.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.N. Security Council has failed in its responsibility by not passing a resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown.

Without mentioning Russia and China by name, Clinton said the two countries would have to explain their vetoes “to the Syrian people.” Moscow and Beijing blocked a resolution Tuesday written by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal, sparking U.S. and European outrage.

Earlier Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé angrily denounced Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a “dictator who is massacring his people” and vowed support for Syrians attempting to overthrow the authoritarian leader.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said the international community has a “moral obligation” to prevent further bloodshed in Syria, while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government will impose its own sanctions on Damascus.

But an aide to the Syrian president told the French news agency that Russia and China stood “with the Syrian people” and provided the time needed for the government to “enforce and enhance reforms.”