Russia denounces U.S. support for Syrian rebels as death rates climb to 37,000
Death toll in deadly conflict to reach 40,000 quickly
The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced the recent U.S. backing of Syria's opposition in its quest to unseat President Bashar al-Assad. Since the deadly uprising which began early last year, an estimated 37,387 Syrians - the majority of them unarmed civilians have been killed in clashes between rebels and government troops. The death toll is expected to surpass 40,000 shortly.
Of the 37,387 who have been killed since fighting began, 6,992 were killed in Homs and 6,750 in the suburbs of Damascus, the Violations Documentation Center says.
"The Syrian opposition has been given a false signal, strengthening the positions of extremists, including terrorists," a tweet reads. The ministry went on to say that support for the rebels went against international principles on Syria that had been established in Geneva.
"If the priority is Assad's fate, it will be paid for with new casualties in #Syria. Our key priority is to prevent such sacrifices," the Tweet quoting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov read.
Lavrov had met with the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this week. The council openly backs the opposition. Both Russia and the council have been accused of supplying weapons to the conflict parties.
In the long list of those killed, Homs and Damascus remain the deadliest places in Syria. The Violations Documentation Center, an opposition group has kept a running total of those who have perished in the 20-month armed conflict.
The Violations Documentation Center publishes a thorough tally of those who have been killed during Syria's armed conflict, claiming to include in its count only those whose deaths are documented on video or with an ID card. It works closely with the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a source commonly cited in reports on Syria.
Of the 37,387 who have been killed since fighting began, 6,992 were killed in Homs and 6,750 in the suburbs of Damascus, the center says.
The total number includes 3,061 government soldiers, which the group only recently started to include in its count.
The conflict rages on. Syria's perpetual flashpoints show no sign of diminishing. The violence has forced civilians to flee over the country's borders.
The U.N. refugee office says 414,838 Syrians are in neighboring countries registered as refugees or waiting to register. Turkey has single highest number with 114,944.
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