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The killing fields of Syria

Last updated on: February 29, 2012 12:40 IST

The killing fields of Syria

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More than 7,500 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad's regime began nearly a year ago, a top United Nations official told the Security Council.

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Image: -A member of the Free Syrian Army mourns his comrade who was killed by supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Photographs: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

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The killing fields of Syria

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In a briefing on Tuesday on the situation in the Middle East, Under-Secretary-General for political affairs Lynn Pascoe said the total death toll from the crisis is "certainly well over 7,500" and continues to mount daily.

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Image: A defaced poster of President Bashar al-Assad is seen on the ground after heavy shelling by government forces in Sermeen
Photographs: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

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The killing fields of Syria

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He added that there were "credible reports" the toll often exceeded 100 civilian deaths per day.

Pascoe told the 15-nation UNSC that use of military force against the civilian population had driven the "largely peaceful" opposition to resort to armed resistance.

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Image: A schoolboy walks past graffiti that reads 'Syrian free people, Bashar is a dog and son of dog, home is my father and revolution is my mother' in Binnish
Photographs: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

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The killing fields of Syria

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Nearly 25,000 refugees from Syria were now registered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in neighbouring countries, and between 100,000 and 200,000 were internally displaced.

Access to water, electricity, medical care and basic food had been limited in many areas, Poscoe said.

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Image: Anti-government protesters attend the funeral of Jaffar Mahmoud, whom they said was killed during clashes with government troops in earlier protests against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Marat al-Numan
Photographs: Reuters

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The killing fields of Syria

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With the bombardment of residential areas in Homs into its fourth week, human rights organisations have reported that nearly 5,000 civilians had been prevented from fleeing to safety by Syrian forces.

Pascoe said the Syrian government has failed to carry out its responsibility to protect its people.

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Image: Children take part in a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Kafranbel, near Idlib
Photographs: Reuters

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The killing fields of Syria

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"Unfortunately, the international community has also failed in its duty to stop the carnage, and actions and inactions to date have seemed to encourage the regime in its belief that it has impunity to carry on wanton destruction of its own civilians," he added.

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Image: Syrians attend a mass funeral for more than a dozen of people, whom anti-government protesters said were killed during clashes with Syrian forces, at Khaldiyeh area in Homs city
Photographs: Reuters

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Noting that the humanitarian consequences of the violence have become "severe", Pascoe said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos is in the region and is ready to go to Damascus as soon as she is allowed entry into the country.

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Image: A child is seen during a protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad and against voting for a referendum on a new constitution in Mouadamia near Damascus
Photographs: Reuters

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The briefing by Pascoe came on the day UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said in Geneva that she is "appalled" at the recent escalation of violence in Syria and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the fighting and assist civilians.

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Image: A Syrian refugee, whose face is painted with a Syrian opposition flag, takes part in a protest, calling for international protection for Syria's anti-government protesters and better living conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in front of the Red Cross offices in Tripoli, northern Lebanon
Photographs: Omar Ibrahim/Reuters

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Pillay called on the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with international mechanisms, including with Kofi Annan, the newly appointed Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League for the crisis in Syria.

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Image: Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Alwar near Homs
Photographs: Reuters

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Annan arrives in New York on Thursday to begin talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Syrian crisis.

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Image: Smoke from shelling rises over the Khaldiyeh area in Homs city
Photographs: Reuters

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