Syrian Death Toll Rises to More than 2,900
The death toll in Syria has risen to 2,900 since the start of the anti-government grassroots uprising seven months ago, the United Nations Human Rights office reports.
The figures, which are solely based on the names of those whose deaths have been confirmed, do not include those who are unaccounted for, or those who have “disappeared,” according to U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville. The figures could also include the deaths of some security personnel as well, he said.
The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is set to review Syria's record on Friday.
Earlier in the week, the U.N. Security Council voted down a watered-down resolution calling for “targeted measures” against the Assad regime if his government continues its violence against civilian protesters.
Both Russia and China, who are permanent members of the Council, vetoed the resolution. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later issued a statement saying the Council failed in its duty to the Syrian people.
Until last month, estimates by the U.N. Human Rights Council put the death toll from government violence at 2,700.
Despite efforts by President Bashar al-Assad to stifle their voices, however, protesters continue to express their discontent. On Wednesday, 16 people died in demonstrations that took place in various parts of the country, according to opposition activists quoted by the BBC.
Instead of calling for reform, the protesters have begun to call for the ouster of the president, who has announced that local elections will be held in December.
Arab tourism to Lebanon has dropped drastically as a result of the violence, according to Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud. “Six hundred thousand Arab tourists normally drive through Syria (into Lebanon) every year,” he told Reuters … “90 percent of all overland arrivals have been lost in 2011.”
According to the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism revenues in Lebanon dropped 20 percent from January to July – a serious matter, since tourism accounts for 22 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Abboud added that the “Arab Spring” has not helped matters, driving Western tourists from the region as well.