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Rights Group Says Syria Death Toll Tops 100,000

By    |   Wednesday, 26 June 2013 11:01 AM

Syrian activists say more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly two and a half years ago, 36,661 of them civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Wednesday that the dead also included 25,407 members of Assad’s armed forces, 17,311 pro-government fighters and 169 Hezbollah militants, CBS News reported.

On the opposition side, fatalities included 13,539 rebels, 2,015 army defectors and 2,518 foreign fighters battling the Assad regime.

In an interview published Wednesday by the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Jordan’s King Abdullah warned that the Syria fighting could develop into a regional sectarian conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to visit Jordan today for talks on Syria and other matters following a stop in Kuwait.

On Tuesday, Kerry met with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, who said the world should not permit Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah to boost the Assad regime in Damascus. The prince criticized Moscow’s support for Assad and called for an international ban on supplying his government with weapons.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi blasted the Saudi minister’s comments, declaring that Riyadh “has no place” in any political solution and that Saudi Arabia is supporting “terrorists” responsible for the violence in Syria.

Meanwhile, government foes say al-Assad's forces have driven insurgent forces out of Tel Kalakh, a town two miles (3 km) from the border with Lebanon.

It marks another gain for the Syrian president after the capture of the rebel stronghold of Qusair this month, and consolidates his control around the central city of Homs, which links Damascus to his Alawite heartland overlooking the Mediterranean coast.

Like Qusair, Tel Kalakh was used by rebels in the early stages of the conflict as a transit point for weapons and fighters smuggled into Syria to join the fight against Assad.

Pro-Assad websites showed video footage of soldiers patrolling the town in armored cars and on foot.

"Terrorist groups infiltrated and terrorized the local people," an army officer said, referring to opposition forces. "In response to the request of the local people, the army entered Tel Kalakh to cleanse the area and restore security."

The SOHR said rebels left the town on Tuesday, retreating towards the nearby Crusader fort of Crac des Chevaliers. Three rebels were killed as the army moved in.

Six months ago, Assad's opponents were challenging the president's grip on parts of Damascus. But they are now under fierce military pressure there, while their supply lines from neighboring Jordan and Lebanon have steadily been choked off.

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Syrian activists say more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly two and a half years ago, 36,661 of them civilians.
syria,death,toll
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2013-01-26
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 11:01 AM
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