UN Raises Death Toll in Syrian Violence

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 2:25 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.

Moscow and Beijing blocked a resolution Tuesday written by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal, sparking U.S. and European outrage.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Thursday that the U.S. will continue to work with allies to take “stronger steps rhetorically and economically” against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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.”