UN pegs Syria death toll close to 70,000

Washington, Feb. 13 (ANI): United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said that the death toll in Syria is probably now approaching 70,000.

In early January, Pillay said that 60,000 people in Syria had died, a figure that she called "truly shocking". She blamed the international community for failing to act, reports the CNN.

The war in Syria has been raging since March 2011 when protesters, partly inspired by Arab Spring uprisings in the region, began demonstrating for more freedom. It quickly morphed into a movement against President Bashar al-Assad, who was appointed president by Syria's rubber-stamp parliament in 2000 after his father died.

The largely amorphous group of anti-al-Assad rebels who have been trying to oust al-Assad, the Free Syrian Army, has had many casualties, but many innocent civilians have died.

The opposition activist organization Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCCS) said 136 people were killed in war-related violence across Syria on Tuesday, including 47 in Damascus and its suburbs, and 32 in Aleppo.

United Nations envoys - two of them so far - have tried to negotiate to end to the fighting.

In late January, envoy Lakhdar Brahimi tried to persuade the U.N. Security Council to do something.

Throughout the war, there have been several instances in which observers have surmised that the bloodshed might be near an end. But they have been wrong every time.

There are Syrians who still very much support al-Assad, too.

Housam Azar, organizer of the militia of Saidnaya, a predominantly Christian town outside Damascus that is standing firmly behind al-Assad, said they "love the president very much". (ANI)

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