Following a meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Council, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights stated that the death toll had risen from 60,000 in January to nearly 70,000 dead since the uprising began in 2011.
“The lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous and civilians on all sides have paid the price,” Pillay said. “We will be judged against the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes.”
Pillay has also called for a 15-member council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, in order to establish consequences on both sides for their defiance of international humanitarian law.
Earlier today, Syrian National Coalition members announced that the Gulf state of Qatar had determined to hand over its Syrian embassy in Doha to the opposition. The SNC has all ready appointed an ambassador and staff members to the embassy.
Yesterday Syrian opposition fighters captured a key military airport near Aleppo, according to Reuters.
The base was captured and in this unverified video posted on YouTube shows captured and fully operational fighter planes as well as ammunition stockpiles, the first time an operational base was captured.
This move also came as the opposition also secured the largest hydroelectric dam and would be able to control electricity and water supplies to the northeastern parts of Syria.
All substantial rebel gains have come in the northern part of the country.
In other developments, a suicide car bomber killed 14 people along the Syrian-Turkish border Monday amid concerns that refugee camps, which are close to the border, will come under attack.
“We are making sure that all of the refugee camps are secure, and are within the safe zone within Turkey,” Turkish Consul General in Chicago Fatih Yildiz said. “By making sure that these camps are located strategically within Turkey we are ensuring that none of the camps will fall under artillery fire by the Syrian government.”
These moves come after newly appointed commander of the Free Syrian Army, General Salim Idriss made an appeal to the US on Feb. 4 for assistance with:
“Training for: (1) special operations; (2) international humanitarian law; and (3) in chemical weapon security.”
Also requested for combat units included combat armor, night vision goggles, hand held monocular and longer range spotting equipment, strategic communications, winterization packs and tactical communications.
Russia, a close Syrian ally has agreed today that it will continue to supply military hardware and light weaponry to Bashar Al-Assad.
“When the Arab Spring came along, we saw that when there is an autocracy, it will not last and at some point the people will say enough is enough, French Consul General in Chicago Graham Paul said. “We need to work with the other democratic forces to unify Syria, and we will not secure that with Bashar Al-Assad.”
Listen to the full interviews with French Consul General in Chicago, Graham Paul and Turkish Consul General in Chicago, Fatih Yildiz via SoundCloud.
What are your thoughts on the Syrian conflict? What solution seems most plausible to bring the civil war to an end?