Syria killing accelerates as peace talks falter
BEIRUT (REUTERS) - More Syrians have been killed in the three weeks since peace talks began than at any other time in the civil war, activists said on Wednesday, as troops pounded rebel towns on the Lebanese border and negotiations faltered in Geneva.
More than 230 people have been killed every day in Syria since January 22, when international mediators brought President Bashar al-Assad's government and its opponents together, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. That is more than in any other three weeks since the war began in 2011.
It is unclear how far the bloodshed is a consequence of the talks, as both sides seek to improve their bargaining positions by gaining territory. On Wednesday, Assad's army and fighters from Lebanese ally Hezbollah pounded the strategic border town of Yabroud where rebels prepared to resist a ground offensive.
The United Nations says more than 130,000 Syrians have been killed in nearly three years of fighting. Totalling at least 4,959, the three-week death toll compiled by the Observatory included 515 women and children. The group estimated about a third of all the dead were civilians.