Syria civilian death toll "well over 7,500"- U.N.

Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:35pm GMT
 

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can be classified as a war criminal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said as the United Nations announced more than 7,500 civilians had been killed by his forces since the start of the revolt.

At least 25 people were killed in the shelling of opposition strongholds by Syrian forces on Tuesday, activists said. In Homs alone, opposition groups said hundreds of civilians had been killed or wounded in the 24-day-old assault.

"There would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category," Clinton told a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday. She added however that using such labels "limits options to persuade leaders to step down from power."

As world dismay grew over the bloodshed, France said the Security Council was working on a Syria resolution and urged Russia and China not to veto it, as they have previous drafts.

In the besieged district of Baba Amro and other parts of Homs, terrified residents were enduring dire conditions, without proper supplies of water, food and medicine, activists said.

A wounded British photographer managed to escape from Homs but the fate of French reporter Edith Bouvier was not clear.

"There are credible reports that the death toll now often exceeds 100 civilians a day, including many women and children," U.N. Under-Secretary-General for political affairs Lynn Pascoe told the U.N. Security Council. "The total killed so far is certainly well over 7,500 people."

Syria's government said in December that "armed terrorist groups" had killed more than 2,000 soldiers and police.   Continued...

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 near the northern province of Idlib February 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Handout
 
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