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73,000 dead in Syria in 2013

Agence France-Presse . Beirut

More than 73,000 people were killed in Syria in 2013, the bloodiest year yet in the brutal civil war that began in March 2011, an NGO said on Wednesday.
The tally from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights came as renewed regime air strikes in the northern city of Aleppo killed at least five people.
The group said it considered the international community ‘a partner in the shedding of the blood of the Syrian people’ because it had failed to take ‘serious action’ to stop the war.
The Britain-based group said it had documented the deaths of 73,455 people between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, including 22,436 civilians.
On Tuesday, the Observatory released an updated toll for the entire war, saying more than 130,000 people had been killed since it began, the majority of them fighters from both sides.
The group slammed the international community on Wednesday, saying it ‘failed to take serious action to stop the massacres that have been committed and continue to be committed’.
Instead, it said, the international community had focused on dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons programme ‘and neglected dozens of massacres that killed thousands of Syrians’.
The loss of life continued on Wednesday, with the Observatory reporting an ongoing regime campaign of aerial bombardment in northern Aleppo province.
It said five people were killed in air strikes on the Sukkari neighbourhood of Aleppo city, adding that raids also targeted nearby districts.
The group also raised to 17 the toll in an incident in the Tarik al-Bab neighbourhood of the city on Tuesday, in which a regime tank shell hit a bus.
Meanwhile, a cargo ship is being outfitted in Virginia with sophisticated technology capable of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, AP reported.
The 648-foot MV Cape Ray is undergoing work in a Portsmouth shipyard before sea trials and its expected voyage to the Mediterranean. The vessel in the Maritime Administration’s ready reserve is rolling out the gangplank Thursday for media visits.
A key shipboard addition is a high-tech system that can neutralise lethal chemical weapons such as nerve gas with water and bleaching compounds. It could treat more than two dozen metric tons of chemicals daily in international waters.
The US says a chemical weapons attack last August in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed 1,400 people. The Syrian government has since agreed to a US-Russian deal to eliminate its chemical arms.

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