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U.N. estimates Syria death toll more than 60,000

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published January 2, 2013 at 7:16 a.m. Updated January 2, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.

a-free-syrian-army-fighter-fighter-a-weapon-in-taftanaz-village-idlib-province-northern-syria-on-wednesday-jan-2-2013-in-this-image-taken-from-video-obtained-from-the-shaam-news-network-which-has-been-authenticated-based-on-its-contents-and-other-ap-reporting

A Free Syrian Army fighter fighter a weapon in Taftanaz village, Idlib province, northern Syria, on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting,

Raw: Dozens killed in Syrian airstrike

A Syrian warplane blasted a gas station near Damascus on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, killing and wounding dozens of people and igniting a huge fire in what could be one of the bloodiest attacks in weeks during the 22-month civil war. (By The Associated Press)
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— The United Nations estimated Wednesday that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 21-month-old uprising against authoritarian rule, a toll one-third higher than what anti-regime activists had counted. The U.N. human rights chief called the toll “truly shocking.”

Opposition activist groups had been estimating the death toll at more than 45,000 and this was the first time that the U.N. estimate was higher.

“Given there has been no letup in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement. “The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking,” she added.

“The failure of the international community, in particular the Security Council, to take concrete actions to stop the blood-letting, shames us all,” Pillay said. “Collectively, we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns.”

A regime airstrike on a gas station in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday pushed that death toll in the civil war even higher. Anti-government activists said dozens were killed and wounded when the strike ignited an inferno and left behind a gruesome trail of charred bodies. It may be one of the bloodiest attacks in weeks.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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