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No Happy New Year for Syria as death toll mounts now at 46,068

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There was no holiday or respite for Syrian civilians as the government of President Bashar al-Assad continues to pound rebels and unarmed people alike throughout the Christmas season. There was clearly no Happy New Year, as many experts think the situation here will only get even worse in 2013.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Of all people killed in the civil war, 85 percent of them, 39,520 human lives died in 2012. According to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 6,548 men, women and children lost their lives in 2011, representing 14 percent of the total 46,068 deaths.

United Nations Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says that the year of 2013 could bode even worse. "Do not expect just 25,000 people to die next year -- maybe 100,000 will die," he told reporters Sunday in Cairo. "The pace is increasing."

At least 136 people were found dead last week, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said. Syria's government has severely restricted access to the country.

Clashes and shelling raged in eight Syrian provinces, in the early hours of 2013, the Observatory reported. The heaviest fighting befell the flashpoints of Damascus and its suburbs, as well as Aleppo.

An Observatory official said the international airport in Aleppo was closed after an explosion on Sunday. Rami Abdulrahman said the group was still trying to determine whether there were casualties and what caused the explosion.

In Syria, holidays follow the Western calendar which typically celebrates the New Year. January 1 is a national holiday.

In Damascus, a Christian Mass marked the day at the Mariamite Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Syria's SANA state news agency reported. Syrians at a refugee camp in Turkey have one unified wish for 2013 -- the fall of the Assad government and an end to the war.

"Bashar al-Assad made us refugees," one refugee says. "He killed two of my children. They destroyed our homes."

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