According to the president of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, at least 80,000 people already have died in Syria since the beginning of the hostilities, most of them believed to be civilians, and the number is growing rapidly. He said so ahead to the vote to a resolution adopted reiterating the call of the Assembly for rapid progress on a political transition, “which represents the best opportunity to resolve the situation […] peacefully.” Syrian opposition sources estimate the death toll is likely to bi as high as 120,000.
Adopted by a vote of 107 in favour to 12 against, with 59 abstention, the Assembly text expressed the body’s outrage at the “rapidly increasing death toll” in Syria, strongly condemns the Syrian Government’s increased use of heavy weapons, and also condemns ongoing “widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” reported the UN.
“Over the past 800 days, the conflict has continued to escalate, threatening the establishment of ethnic or sectarian fiefdoms—thus gravely imperilling the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” said Assembly President Vuk Jeremic ahead of action on the text. “Violence is begetting more violence; hatred, more hatred —carving deeper and deeper wounds into Syria’s society.”
“If we are unable to do anything to stop this tragedy, then how can we sustain the moral credibility of this Organization?” he asked, adding: “It is high time to say ‘enough is enough;’ enough to complacency and enough to fratricidal.” He said that evidence of chemical weapons use is now coming to light. “Succumbing to the despondency of the status quo “is a prescription for a disastrous future” of multiplying crises in Syria and the wider Middle East region.”
“We should strive to build on the agreement reached by the Action Group for Syria last June in Geneva, and reinvigorated a few days ago in Moscow, to get the political process off the ground, enabling the citizens of Syria to begin reconciliation and freely determine their nation’s future, he said.
The resolution welcomed the establishment last year of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces “as effective representative interlocutors needed for a political transition”, something Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’Afari said its wrong “by recognizing one faction of the opposition as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative”. Other speakers said that the resolution bestowed authority on the National Coalition which could only be exercised by democratically elected officials. Some speakers said the resolution was counterproductive with the agreement reached by US and Russia to hold an International Peace Conference this month.